Are you among the numerous individuals who put off their dental appointments just out of sheer dread of sitting in the dentist’s chair? Well, maybe it is not the wisest thing to do.
Following good dental hygiene practices may have health benefits related to other areas of the body. For instance, there are studies linking good dental hygiene to heart health.
Importance of Dental Hygiene
While exercising regularly and following a healthy diet are essential for maintaining overall health, dental hygiene should not be overlooked.
Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to oral health, and experts recommend caring for your teeth as it can reduce the chances of developing tooth and gum-related issues like tooth decay, cavities and gingivitis. It can also prevent or delay the need for dentures as you age.
Tips for maintaining oral health:
- Brush at least twice a day
- Floss after every meal or at least twice a day to remove food particles
- Get a new toothbrush every three months (or sooner if the bristles look overused)
- Visit the dentist regularly (twice a year is recommended)
Dental Hygiene and Heart Health
There has been a lot of speculation linking dental hygiene and heart health, but until recently there was no proof to confirm this connection. A recent study, however, shows that there could be a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular health.
Common signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding of the gums during brushing, flossing or even eating
- Inflamed and sore gums
- A gap between the gum and teeth
- Infection around the gum and teeth
- Bad breath and bad taste in the mouth
Periodontitis, a type of gum infection, may increase the thickness of the blood vessels in the neck and eventually lead to heart diseases. Research shows that nearly 80 percent of the American population has some form of gum disease and that people with gum diseases have double the risk of having heart conditions.
Experts believe that this link is because of the bacteria that cause periodontal or gum diseases. Any kind of infection is usually characterized by swelling and it is believed that when these bacteria travel from the mouth to other parts of the body, they cause similar inflammation in the blood vessels, hampering the flow of blood.
This could lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which can often lead to heart attacks, endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart) and even stroke.
Even though one cannot confirm that regular visits to the dentist can reduce the chances of developing heart disease, it will at least keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile pretty. So make sure you keep your dental appointments and talk to your dentist and doctor about any concerns you may have.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
How Oral Health and Heart Disease Are Connected Colgate. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/heart-disease/how-oral-health-and-heart-disease-are-connected-0115
Your teeth and your heart: What’s the connection? (2015, October 08). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986
II, R. H. (2017, January 30). The surprising link between periodontal disease and heart health: What dental professionals need to know. Retrieved from https://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2017/02/the-surprising-link-between-periodontal-disease-and-heart-health-what-dental-professionals-need-to-know.html
Oral Health And Overall Health: Why A Healthy Mouth Is Good For Your Body. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.colgateprofessional.com/education/patient-education/topics/systemic/why-a-healthy-mouth-is-good-for-your-body