Over the course of February, you probably heard a lot of talk about how to improve the health of your heart. And this is important, since heart disease kills about 2300 Americans every day.
But one of the suggestions you might not have heard is that your dentist can help protect your heart. But it’s true: making regular dental appointments is one of the best things you can do for your heart. It has almost as much impact as getting regular exercise on your stroke risk!
Gum Disease Hurts Your Heart
Because of the accidents of history that separated dentistry from the rest of medicine, many people have the idea that our mouth is somewhat separate from the rest of the body, but that’s not true at all. In fact, because most everything that enters your body goes through your mouth, oral disease has a unique influence over your overall health.
Gum disease is an especially serious health risk. When your gums are red, sore, or bleeding, it’s because they’ve got a chronic infection, an infection that may last months or years, even decades. Over this time, gum disease can impact your immune system, your lungs, and more.
But perhaps the most significant impact of gum disease may be on your heart.
Oral bacteria can enter your blood through the gums. It then travels through your blood vessels to your heart, where it can cause a heart infection, endocarditis.
But more commonly, the bacteria colonize the walls of your arteries, forming plaque. The plaque is also made up of fat, much of which is actually produced by oral bacteria, rather than coming from your food. This plaque hardens the arteries, damages them, and can break off, creating strokes.
To try to avoid this, we recommend that you get gum disease treatment to stop the infection. We offer comfortable, effective laser dentistry to make the procedure easier.
Infected Teeth Can Also Hurt Your Heart
But it’s not just gum disease that can contribute to heart disease. Infected teeth also pass oral bacteria into your blood.
An infected tooth can become an acute and deadly infection if left untreated. But even if it doesn’t it’s been associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
When you develop an infected tooth, we recommend a root canal treatment to remove the infection and restore your tooth. If the tooth can’t be restored, it will have to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
Preventive Care Protects Your Heart
But there’s good news in all this. Maintaining your oral health can have a positive impact on your overall health. Including your cardiovascular health. It can protect you from serious health outcomes like heart attack or stroke.