While February is known for Valentine’s Day, this shouldn’t be the only day of the month to show love. Designated as Heart Health Month, this is a time to demonstrate some self-care. One way to accomplish this is by protecting your heart through maintaining excellent dental care habits. As you continue reading, learn about the hidden relationship between the gums and cardiovascular system, and get 5 tips for improving your total wellness.
Understanding the Significance of the Gums
Oral bacteria are always present in the mouth. When you eat or drink beverages (other than water), the microorganisms become especially active. If debris and particles (especially those left behind from sugary items) linger on the teeth and gums, the bacteria flock in that direction to feed. Eventually, they can form sticky and caustic plaque.
If ignored, plaque buildup can eventually irritate and inflame the soft tissue (called gingivitis). The first stage of gum disease (infection), the problem will only get worse over time, and it can eventually lead to permanent damage to the connective tissue beneath the gum line and even tooth loss. Because bacteria never stop moving, they can soon migrate to the heart to contribute to clogged arteries. This can be life-threatening and encourage cardiac arrest and heart disease.
5 Ways to Protect Yourself
You don’t have to helplessly stand by and allow your dental health to deteriorate and compromise your heart health. Here are 5 ways to fortify your total wellness:
#1 – Effective toothbrushing
To get the most out of it, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you brush for at least two minutes each session. This will allow you to effectively remove debris and bacteria that accumulate throughout the day. For the best results, you can brush after each meal.
#2 – Consistent flossing
While toothbrushing is certainly an integral part of your dental care, it can only clean 60% of your teeth surfaces. The flexible design of dental floss allows it to maneuver into the tight spaces between your teeth to remove leftover food particles and bacteria.
#3 – Saying “no” to tobacco
Whether chewed or smoked, tobacco causes havoc for your teeth and gums. It releases harmful toxins that encourage bacteria growth. To make matters worse, tobacco usage can have a direct effect on heart and lung health. To be safe, it’s best to avoid its usage in any capacity.
#4 – Understanding your risk factors
Based on your age, diet and genetics, you may be more susceptible to developing gum disease. If you have a family history of gum disease, tooth loss, heart conditions or other issues, you’ll want to make your dentist aware of it so that he or she can provide the best care possible.
#5 – Maintaining regular dental visits
Being proactive and visiting your dentist in Temple every six months for cleanings and checkups will do wonders for your dental health. Amazingly, it can also have a positive effect on your heart health. That’s because any developing issues can be spotted and treated before they become bigger problems.
When you’re forward-moving about any aspect of your health, you’ll be rewarded in the long run. Let February be your month of complete renewal!
About the Author
Dr. Richard Fossum is a graduate of the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston. For over 20 years, he has helped his patients enjoy the best in dental health by placing an emphasis on prevention. To further enhance his services, Dr. Fossum takes several hours of continuing education annually. He promotes total wellness at Fossum Dental Group, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.