February is designated as American Heart Month in Topeka and Silver Lake, as well as nation-wide! It’s a great reminder to take a moment between buying flowers and chocolates to reflect on the health of your heart. According to research conducted by Delta Dental, there is strong evidence of a connection between your oral health and your overall wellbeing, including your cardiovascular system. Does that mean brushing and flossing can prevent heart disease? Read on to find out how taking care of your mouth protects your smile and your heart.
Connecting Your Oral and Overall Health
Research suggests that more that 90% of all systemic health conditions cause symptoms in your mouth. That means that your dentist may be the first to diagnose you with diseases like:
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
It appears that the health of your body influences the health of your mouth and vice versa. One oral health condition that has a particularly noticeable impact on your overall wellbeing is gum disease.
Gum Disease and Your Heart
According to recent studies, those with oral infections like gum disease are 40% more likely to develop other chronic health conditions. Although the connection is still unclear, those who suffer from periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, are statistically more likely to have heart disease as well. Experts suggest that gum disease may cause problems for your heart via:
Bacterial infection. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, when the bacteria initially begin to irritate and infect the gum tissue. If left untreated, it will advance into periodontitis, which means it has begun to damage the jawbone and destroy the connective tissues that hold your teeth in place. Not only is tooth loss connected to coronary artery disease, but experts believe that if this harmful bacteria escapes into the bloodstream, it can travel to the heart and cause health conditions like endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner linings.
Inflammation. Researchers believe that how your body responds to the bacterial infection can pose a threat as well. A prolonged immune response to gum disease is believed to spread inflammation throughout the body. Over time, this could set off a domino effect of other chronic inflammatory conditions like atherosclerosis, which can clog the arteries.
Although there’s no definitive proof that treating gum disease will protect your heart, there is enough evidence to confirm that a healthy mouth is a key part of your general wellbeing. If you have gum disease in Topeka and Silver Lake, your dentist can help you overcome it with several different specialized treatments. When you keep your teeth and gums healthy, your whole body will thank you!
About the Author
Here at Michel Dental, we strive to offer the families of Topeka and Silver Lake excellent, comfortable, and thoughtful dental treatment. Dr. Michael Michel, Dr. Lindsay Biggs, and our friendly staff are committed to meeting you wherever you are on your oral healthcare journey. Whether you’re just coming in for a regular dental checkup or need an advanced treatment like gum disease therapy, we’re here to help with state-of-the-art technology and an attentive smile. You can reach our Topeka office at (785) 273-0801, our Silver Lake office at (785) 582-0185, or either at our website.