Want to have a healthy heart? Then take care of your teeth and gums. Good oral health practices don’t only benefit your smile and help you avoid tooth decay, but they can also be a key to maintaining your overall health—especially heart health. Read on to learn how oral health and heart disease are linked and how your dentist in State College, Dr. Donald Marks, can help keep you and your smile in great shape.
What’s the Connection Between Your Mouth and Your Heart?
Researchers, doctors and dentists now know that the condition of your mouth can impact the health of the rest of your body. This is called the oral-systemic connection. In regard to heart health, research shows bacteria that accumulate in your mouth when you have gum disease can dislodge and enter your bloodstream. Once there, the bacteria may attach to the wall of vessels, increasing your risk of blood clots. These clots could decrease blood flow, increase blood pressure and eventually lead to a heart attack.
What Can Your State College Dentist Do to Help?
When you come to Dr. Marks for one of your biannual dental checkups, there are certain components of this appointment that may directly help you keep a healthy heart. First, the American Dental Association’s protocol now calls for each checkup to start with a blood pressure reading. You’d be surprised to know how many dentists are the first healthcare providers to raise a red flag about a patient’s potential high blood pressure. In case of hypertension (high blood pressure), we’ll refer you to your primary care physician for an examination.
Secondly, nothing beats a professional teeth cleaning in State College when it comes to removing the bacterial plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease. Both plaque and tartar, which is calcified plaque, can accumulate along the gum line. If not regularly removed, bacteria can invade tissue below the gum line. The resulting infection may not only harm your oral health, but your heart and general health, too.
What Can I Do to Maintain Oral and Heart Health?
In addition to scheduling regular dental checkups, you also need to be vigilant about your at-home oral health care. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Both of these steps help to reduce the number of oral bacteria in your mouth.
For the Sake of Your Heart, Schedule a Checkup Today
Dr. Marks and his team are here to help you enjoy a beautiful smile and optimal well being. Call our office today to schedule a checkup.