Links Between Your Oral Health And Heart Disease
If you’re like our other patients here at Orthodontics Limited, PC, you want to take the very best care of your heart, right? Of course! Did you know that your lowly toothbrush could rank right up there with your gym membership in keeping your heart healthy?
Yes, it’s true! According to Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg at Center City, “There are several recent studies that suggest gum disease—and other oral health issues—are DIRECTLY related to heart problems.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, the leading cause of death in America is heart disease, killing almost 2000 people daily. This data means that more people die from heart disease than Covid or all forms of cancer combined!
And when you consider how likely poor oral health could lead to heart disease in the United States, it’s probably time to rethink how much attention you’re paying to your teeth.
In a recent American Academy of Periodontology study, it’s reported that people who have periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. Another study found that common oral health problems, including missing teeth, gingivitis, and cavities, are as good at predicting heart disease as harmful cholesterol levels.
While there’s still A LOT MORE to learn about these connections, the evidence seems to be mounting each year. Our doctors add, “We know that bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream through your gums.
These same bacteria have been found clumped up in artery plaques. One theory gaining more acceptance is that they stick to the fatty plaques in your bloodstream, which can directly contribute to blockages.”
Other theories revolve around your body’s defenses against bacteria, including the natural response of inflammation. For example, oral bacteria traveling through your bloodstream can cause blood cells to swell, leading to the narrowing of arteries and clot risks.
The EXACT relationships between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease are still unclear, but today’s research continues to conclude that there’s definitely a connection.
There are many ways to improve your overall oral health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are some tips:
- The first step is to get your teeth cleaned. If you’re not sure where to go, talk to your dentist or orthodontist and have them recommend a good hygienist. Then, make sure you’re flossing correctly and brushing twice a day.
If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, or if they are swollen and painful, you may have gum disease—we recommend talking to us about that right away!
- When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste (with 1,000 ppm fluoride), and a gentle scrubbing motion. Floss once a day in addition to brushing to remove plaque from between teeth.
- One of the most important things you can also do is eat healthily—and by that, we mean eating lots of veggies and fruits. They’re packed with nutrients that help lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
And did you know that studies show people who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day have a 35% lower risk of dying from heart problems? So that’s a different reason (or five) to pay even more attention to your overall diet.
- Limit snacking between meals by eating more fruits and vegetables that provide fiber-like cantaloupe, carrots, and cauliflower — which may help reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs from food.
- Keep in mind how much salt you’re consuming (or not consuming). If you have high blood pressure or heart failure, reducing your sodium intake may help improve your symptoms. You can try switching out table salt for sea or kosher salt or replacing it with spices like basil or thyme.
- Get regular exercise at least three times per week for 30 minutes or more at an intensity that makes it hard to talk while at it (for example, brisk walking).
At Orthodontics Limited, we’re here to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. We know that your oral health and heart health are linked in a rarely discussed way but can significantly impact both. That’s why we want to make sure you understand how your teeth are connected to your heart and what we can do to help.
We believe that every patient deserves individualized attention and care. That’s why we offer a variety of services, including:
We provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment designed to correct misaligned teeth and improve your overall oral health.
We offer two brace options: traditional metal wires and clear plastic aligners called Invisalign. Both braces are removable, so you can eat what you want while wearing them. They both offer similar results, but they may take different amounts of time to achieve those results depending on each patient’s unique situation.
We offer several cosmetic dentistry options, including porcelain veneers and whitening treatments that can dramatically transform your smile without significant surgery or downtime. In addition, we can carry out this treatment option on any age group, so if you’re not happy with how your teeth look, get in touch with our orthodontists in Philadelphia, and we’ll be happy to talk about your options.
At Orthodontics Limited, we are experts in treating Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD). TMD affects a person’s ability to move their jaw freely, which can cause discomfort both physically and emotionally. We offer various treatments for TMD, such as splints, night guards, and jaw exercises that can help reduce pain caused by this condition.
If you’re worried you may be at risk of periodontal disease, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns to one of our doctors—they care about your oral and overall health!
Of course, DON’T ignore all of the other things you can do to keep your heart healthy while just focusing on brushing! Keep eating healthy foods, exercise regularly, and take care of risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. And don’t forget that PREVENTION goes a long way in preventing problems in the future.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask. We love visiting with you—our friends and patients.