Since February is officially American Heart Month, you’ve probably heard that heart disease affects millions of Americans each year. But you may not know just how prevalent it can be: According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Given this statistic, it’s not surprising that your medical doctor regularly mentions all the usual risk factors like high cholesterol, blood pressure, diet and exercise…
But did you know that there’s also a surprising link between your oral health and heart health? By keeping your gums healthy you can potentially reduce the risk for many forms of heart disease. In addition to making some simple changes at home, gum therapy in Arlington Heights can help keep your gum disease from contributing to problems with your heart.
How Are Your Gums and Heart Related?
While it may seem far-fetched, there has been an enormous amount of research done in recent years about the relationship between the mouth and other parts of the body. In particular, researchers have found that having periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Essentially, the problem is bacteria – which is the main component of plaque and tartar. If plaque and tartar are left under the gumline, bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream from the mouth and travel throughout the entire body, including the heart.
Once there, plaque and inflammation can form inside the arteries of the heart, which can lead to bigger problems. The good news is that many people are able to effectively remove the plaque from their mouths with a good home-care routine and professional cleanings twice per year.
However, if you have gum disease in Arlington Heights, you may need more intensive therapy to keep your gums clean and healthy. Since gum disease can lead to deeper “pockets” around each tooth, it makes bacteria more difficult to remove.
How Can You Tell If You Have Gum Disease?
If you’re concerned about your heart health and suspect that your gums are less-than-healthy, here are a few things to look for:
- Bleeding, swollen or dark red gums.
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away after brushing.
- Loose teeth.
- Receding gums or teeth that begin to look “longer.”
What Can You Do?
The first step is to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough assessment. They’ll gently examine your gums and discuss your options for periodontal therapy in Arlington Heights, which often includes a type of cleaning that is specifically designed for patients with gum disease.
You’ll also learn about what you can do at home to make sure your gums stay healthy in between dental visits. For example, an electric toothbrush will be more effective than a regular brush, and a waterpik or showerpik can help clean deeper under the gumline than floss can.
With this information, you can make sure you have a healthy smile, and a healthy heart – for life!
About the Author
Drs. Peter Kics, Aurora Hart and Brian Rosenblatt are passionate about providing the absolute best dental care possible to all of their patients. Through staying abreast of the latest research, they strive to help their patients achieve both better oral health and overall health. They can be reached for further questions through their website, or at (847) 577-7171.