The possible link between gum health and heart health has been researched and debated for many years. While there is no proven link between gum disease and heart disease, there is much anecdotal evidence that the two diseases often strike the same people.
Many cardiologist point to the mouth as a “warning signpost.” This is because the risk factors that can lead to periodontitis, such as smoking, age, and diabetes, can also lead to heart disease. This does not mean one causes the other, but it does mean a person with serious gum disease may also be at risk of heart disease, and vice versa.
If you know you have or are at risk of heart disease, be sure to tell your dental professional so we can be on the lookout for periodontal disease. Likewise, if you come to us with a periodontal problem, we may encourage you to talk to your doctor about your heart health. At Dr. Roberts Family Dentistry, we’re concerned not just with your oral health but with your whole health; we believe healthy teeth and gums are a major contributor to a healthy lifestyle in general.
Risk factors of both heart and gum disease include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and inactive lifestyle. Addressing these risk factors and making efforts to live an active, healthy lifestyle will lower your risk of heart disease and gum disease, and will generally improve your quality of life.
The most important habit you can cultivate to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to brush and floss every day. Brush for at least 2 minutes, at least twice a day, and floss between each and every tooth once daily.
Choosing a toothbrush
Always look for toothbrushes, pastes, and flosses with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance; these products have been evaluated by an independent body of scientific experts on behalf of the ADA, so you can be sure they’re safe and effective.
Choose a soft-bristled brush; hard bristles can aggravate and damage your gums and tooth enamel. Also be sure you’ve chosen a brush that’s the proper size and shape for your mouth. A brush that is too big or too small won’t reach everywhere in your mouth that plaque hides.
Best brushing practices
The American Dental Association suggests brushing at a 45 degree angle, in short, gentle strokes:
Finally, be sure to finish up your brushing routine with floss, which cleans in between your teeth where no brush can reach.
Don’t forget your regular check-up
An equally important habit, of course, is regular professional dental care. We encourage our patients to visit once every 6 months for a check-up and cleaning.