How is HEART health and DENTAL health related? | Falling in LOVE with your smile
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, and red hearts abound. As all of us at Colony Square Dental Associates wish everyone a happy day we don’t think that it’s a coincidence that February is also National Heart Health Month. Though you may wonder why we’re talking about heart health in a dental health blog, we believe that excellent dental health is a part of overall wellbeing.
Research efforts continue in order to determine how these two areas of our bodies interrelate. The analyses focus on the possible cause / effect relationship between oral health and cardiovascular disease – heart health. While there has not been a definitive causal relationship established there are many scientific studies that are bringing us closer to an answer. The scientific community is leaning strongly to believing that one’s dental health can impact one’s heart health. After all – it makes sense; we know that eating healthier foods, exercising more, and reducing stress all serve to improve our heart’s health. Our teeth, gums, and supporting bone structures are not separate from the rest of our bodies. For all to work together properly, along with being careful about diet, increasing daily activity, and setting aside time for relaxation and adequate sleep, it’s important to incorporate a dental program to maintain oral health.
When we think of teeth our first thought is usually about the appearance of our smile. We respond positivity to a white and bright smile. How to achieve those dazzling teeth is a question that Drs. Hochberg & Diora are routinely asked. But before esthetics, it’s essential to ensure that an attractive smile is supported by excellent periodontal health. After all, this is where the possible link between our gums and our heart comes into play. When plaque, containing harmful bacteria, hardens below the gum line and is not professionally removed, there is potential for the onset of Periodontal Disease. The gums are irritated by the plaque, and can become inflamed, red or swollen, and can bleed. Termed, Gingivitis, this is often the first sign that a problem has begun. Fortunately, early intervention by a professional dental hygienist, your dentist, and attention to a good home healthcare regime are usually successfully in avoiding a progression of the disease process.
However, left untreated the disease process can progress into Periodontitis. When the infection and inflammation is not resolved, the toxins present cause the gum tissue to break down and it begins to pull away from the tooth. In combination with weakening bone structure there is the risk of tooth loss. This is the stage at which scientists and healthcare professionals are focusing studies on the correlation between heart health and oral health. There is the possibility that the toxins in the bacteria, which enter the bloodstream and hence the heart, could be damaging. And, for those with diabetes, it has been found that one condition can exacerbate the other. So, even if studies are not complete, common sense tells us that we need to take good care of our entire self. A little diligence in brushing and flossing, along with periodic dental visits, will go a long way to keeping your teeth, and your heart, healthy – not only this for special day, but also for all your days!
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Just remember – to care about your heart, care about your teeth!
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