The Relationship Between Dental Health and Heart Health

February is American Heart Health Month

February is a month full of heart. We all know that February 14th is Valentine’s Day – a day to express our love. It’s also Children’s Dental Health Month, reminding those who care for little ones that an important way we show love is to ensure that our children stay healthy, which includes their oral health. And, not to be forgotten, the American Heart Association has designated February as American Heart Month.

At Colony Square Dental Associates, this month provides the perfect time to look into the window into the relationship between oral health and overall wellness.  On the 14th, with candy as the #1 favorite gift, we told our patients to, ‘go ahead and enjoy a treat’. But we also offered a gentle reminder to brush and floss about half to an hour after consumption, giving time for the saliva to do its job.  When we welcome a child into our office, we are happy to share with the adults in charge the tips and tools to ensure their child remains in excellent oral health.

But, you might ask why a dental office is discussing oral health in conjunction with Heart Health Month, the 3rd piece of February’s tie to hearts and love. While our internists ask us if we feel undue stress, exercise regularly and if we watch our diet, we are also bombarded with TV ads hyping products to address these three issues known to relate to keeping our hearts healthy. However, what is not as well known is the correlation between oral health and one’s heart health.

The Oral-Systemic Connection

Especially during American Heart Month, but every month, it’s important to recognize that one’s oral health is not separate from any other body parts. Like a puzzle, our systems work together; when one is not functioning properly there is the potential that other systems will be negatively impacted. Years of research have shown the link between the health of our gum tissue, periodontal health, to our cardiovascular system.

When there is an accumulation of plaque it can harden into calculus, causing gum tissue to become irritated and inflamed, and bleeding to occur. When the tooth is no longer fully embedded in the tissue, it leaves a void where bacteria can become lodged, offering a fertile environment for an infection to develop. This condition, periodontitis, not only can lead to tooth loss but also can result in the bacteria entering into the body’s bloodstream resulting in an inflammatory response that could contribute to heart problems or exacerbate existing conditions such as diabetes.

Oral Health Tips for Heart Health

  • Schedule regular dental hygiene prophylaxis. Our hygienist will remove plaque and calculus, complete a periodontal chart, which serves to determine ‘pocket depth’, the space between the gum tissue and the bone and helps assess the status of your gum health, polish your teeth and provides educational tips and recommends tools to help maintain your oral health at home.
  • Reserve time to see David Hochberg, DDS, Mira Diora, DDS or Cuong To, DDS for your periodic dental examination and oral cancer screening. They will evaluate the health of your teeth and the surrounding gum tissue, complete a head and neck examination, review X-rays taken, examine the status of your gum tissue, and review periodontal charts. If any concerns are noted our dentists will discuss their findings and offer treatment recommendations to avoid the progression of the disease process, which could potentially require more extensive care in the future.
  • Incorporate brushing and flossing two times a day into your home oral healthcare regimen. Flossing, which we often do to help dislodge debris that gets stuck between our teeth, also disrupts the plaque that develops. This serves to make your brushing more effective and reduces the opportunity for the plaque to harden, becoming calculus, commonly called tartar. When following the recommended two minutes of brushing, we recommend an electric toothbrush you have not only done a service to your dental health but also are working to reduce the possibility of an oral inflammatory disease impacting your heart health.

A dazzling smile inspires self-confidence, which all value. But, by also prioritizing good oral hygiene practices, and addressing dental concerns before disease can impact our hearts, we not only promote a radiant smile but also contribute to a healthier self. We encourage all to remember that a ‘heart healthy’ smile is not merely a cosmetic asset; it’s a reflection of your overall well-being. Our entire team welcomes the opportunity to partner with you to ensure you remain your healthiest self. Call our Atlanta dental office at Colony Square Dental Associates, Atlanta office Phone Number 404-874-6464, and we’ll be happy to find a time for you to reserve your professional dental hygiene session and examination.

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