woman finger on temple in thoughtThe human body is a marvelous structure full of endless complexities that medical professionals are uncovering daily. One of the discoveries that they’ve made is that oral care is directly linked to your heart health. The reason is that every part inside your body, although seeming to be separated, is connected to a vast network or community. Therefore, your dentist of Scarborough wants you to know about the severe dangers of neglecting your oral health and how to protect your heart with preventive dentistry and oral hygiene.

Why Oral Health Matters

Recent studies show that there is a connection between periodontal (gum) disease and the likelihood of developing heart problems, as patients with this dental issue have been found to be more susceptible to cardiovascular disease than those with high cholesterol. The data reflect that this is nothing to take lightly because 85 million North Americans have some form of heart disease while 200 million suffer from periodontal disease.

Furthermore, scientists have discovered that the same bacteria that infect gum tissue and eventually destroy the connective bones and fibers that surround the teeth, also cause inflammation. And it is the inflammation or swelling that then triggers a similar effect throughout your body as blood flows from your gums.

This results in the following:

  • Formation of arterial plaque – Just as bacteria in your mouth lead to plaque accumulation on your teeth and gums, they can also cause plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • Atherosclerosis – A very dangerous result of plaque buildup is a narrowing of the arteries called atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

How to Prevent Gum Disease and Related Heart Problems

There are two primary ways to prevent gum disease and the accompanying problems:

  • Regular Dentist Visits – One of the best ways you have to fight gum disease is to maintain regular visits with your local oral expert. While there, you’ll have X-Rays taken, receive a thorough cleaning and have examinations conducted by a dental hygienist and your dentist. Therefore, if there are any developing issues, they can be detected early and addressed.
  • Oral Hygiene – Another major defense against gum disease is excellent oral hygiene, which involves brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day to remove the harmful bacteria that lead to dental maladies. Other options available include tongue scraping, rinsing with mouthwash and eating healthier foods. The foregoing either directly help to clean your mouth, teeth and gums or play a part in creating the type of environment conducive to superb oral health.

The goal is to approach all of the above from a holistic standpoint by incorporating them into your lifestyle. Thus, your ability to be proactive will ensure that your heart, mouth, teeth and gums will remain healthy for years to come!

About the Author

Dr. Samantha Amaro received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Waterloo. She then went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. A member of the Ontario Dental Association and several other professional organizations, Dr. Amaro practices at White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry and can be reached for more information through her website.