How Your Smile Can Help or Hinder Your Heart Health

February 8, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — smilesforlifeteam @ 2:20 am
young woman with a healthy smile

When you think about ways to ensure optimal heart health, the first things that come to mind may be a nutrient-rich diet and exercise. While these are certainly aspects that a doctor would recommend, there is another component you might not have considered – your smile. Keeping your teeth and gums in optimal shape is one of the most effective ways to achieve better cardiovascular health, so read on to discover what you can do to ensure the longevity of your smile (and ultimately your heart).

The Link Between Oral and Heart Health

February is American Heart Month, and doctors throughout the country are encouraging patients to take the necessary steps to avoid cardiovascular disease. While you may be looking for healthier recipes and morning exercise routines to incorporate into your daily life, you should also consider ways to take charge of your oral health.

The truth is that heart disease is the leading cause of death among individuals in the United States. While obesity is often what people point to as the reason for heart disease, it’s also possible that poor dental health can be a contributing factor, specifically gum disease.

How Does Gum Disease Negatively Affect the Heart?

Gum disease occurs when bacteria attack the soft oral tissues and cause inflammation, tenderness, and bleeding. As the infection spreads, it causes gum pockets to form, making it easier to trap harmful particles and food debris.

If it is allowed to progress, it can begin to damage the underlying bone, causing teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. But unfortunately, that is not the worst of it. Once the infection reaches the bloodstream, it can travel throughout the body, wreaking havoc along the way. If it reaches the heart, the chances of heart attack and stroke dramatically increase.

The reason is that the blood vessels can become inflamed, increasing the likelihood that a blood clot will form and cause a heart attack.

Ways to Minimize the Risk and Maintain Better Heart & Oral Health

To avoid the chances of experiencing a cardiovascular event, it’s important that you take steps to care for your teeth and gums while also being mindful of what you’re doing to improve your overall health and well-being.

When it comes to your smile, you’ll want to make sure that you:

  • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing at least once each day, and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
  • Keep your scheduled six-month checkups and teeth cleanings so that a dentist can check for early signs of gum disease and decay.
  • Enjoy healthy, nutrient-rich foods while also limiting your consumption of sugars and starches.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out various toxins in your body and reduce the chances of dry mouth.
  • Stop smoking and using tobacco products, as this can increase your risk of gum disease.

Keeping these helpful tips in mind will not only have you enjoying life with a more beautiful smile but also a healthier heart.

About the Author
Dr. James Gray is a dentist who has been practicing dentistry for more than 30 years. Graduating from the University of Texas Dental School at San Antonio, he and his team provide the highest quality care for patients of all ages. At his dental office in Arlington, he and his team provide complex care to individuals who are suffering from gum disease. To help those who want to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease, he can provide essential tips and treatments to keep teeth and gums healthy, which will positively impact an individual’s heart. Visit our website or call (817) 460-4131 to find out how we can help you in your oral healthcare journey.