Your heart does more than beat faster when you see your loved ones; it pumps blood to all the different parts of your body. With such an integrated machine, it stands to reason that the health of your mouth can contribute to the health of your body.
Recent studies have shown possible links between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease. Researchers have found that people with gum disease are roughly twice as likely to have coronary artery disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, with coronary artery disease being the most common type of heart disease.
Gum disease, which affects the tissues that surround and support teeth, is an infection caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque that forms on the teeth, mainly along the gum line. In its early stages, called gingivitis, gum disease can be treated and often reversed.
Research continues in an effort to pinpoint the exact connection between gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, taking care of your teeth and gums may be even more important for maintaining your overall health.
To help keep your mouth and heart healthy, follow these tips to help prevent problems before they arise:
• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Make sure you brush gently beneath the gum line around each tooth.
• Floss at least once a day.
• Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
• Eat a healthy diet and don’t use tobacco. If you smoke – quit. Your dentist may be able to help you stop.