Your heart does more than beat faster when you see your loved ones; it pumps blood to all the different parts of your body. With such an integrated machine moving blood throughout the inside of our bodies, it stands to reason that the health of your mouth can contribute to the health of your heart.
Recent studies have found that gum disease increases your risk of having a heart attack by 50 percent. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women with coronary artery disease being the most common type.
Gum disease, which affects the tissues that surround and support teeth, is an infection caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque that forms on the teeth, mainly along the gum line. In its early stages, gum disease can be treated and often reversed.
Researchers believe the link between the heart and the mouth lies within inflammation. If you have gum disease and inflammation in the mouth, it’s likely to indicate that inflammation lies elsewhere in the body.
To help keep your mouth and heart healthy, follow these tips to help prevent problems before they arise:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Make sure you brush gently beneath the gum line around each tooth.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Eat a healthy diet and don’t use tobacco. If you smoke – quit. Your dentist may be able to help you stop.
For more on maintaining your health, check out: