It's no secret that routine oral care can give you a healthy mouth, but prioritizing dental hygiene can also positively impact your overall health. Though it's preventable, heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. Explore how to reduce risk factors of heart disease and the link between oral and heart health.
Bacterial infections in the mouth can travel through blood vessels and infect other areas of the body. When serious ailments like gum disease (periodontitis) occur in the mouth, those harmful bacteria can make their way to the rest of the body. These microorganisms can cause inflammation of the heart valves leading to heart conditions such as:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
How Can Oral Care Prevent Heart Disease?
A healthy oral care routine can go a long way in preventing complications from heart disease. Daily dental hygiene can protect harmful bacteria from entering your body. These simple yet effective tips can significantly reduce your risk of gum disease:
- Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day
- Interdental cleaning daily
- Replacing your toothbrush head every three months or after being sick
- Routine visits to a dental professional
What Healthy Foods Support Oral and Heart Health?
A balanced diet and regular physical activity are both part of a healthy lifestyle. By focusing your diet on foods that support oral and heart health, you can prevent serious medical conditions from occurring. While foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats should be avoided, foods that promote oral and heart health include:
- Leafy greens help lower blood sugar and boost saliva production
- Almonds are high in calcium and low in sugar
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity and strengthen teeth and gums
- Salmon is full of vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. It can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and heart disease
How Can I Support National Heart Month?
February is National Heart Month in the United States. It's an excellent opportunity to start the conversation on the importance of cardiovascular health. Here are some ways you can get involved:
- Inspire loved ones to prioritize heart health
- Encourage others to wear red on the first Friday of February
- Volunteer at a Heart Month event or plan your own
- Share a heart-healthy recipe with friends
- Engage your social media with Heart Month facts
- Learn CPR
When you make oral care a priority, you're doing the same for your overall health. Complications brought on by heart disease are largely preventable, so it's important to stay informed and make the necessary lifestyle adjustments so you can live a happy, healthy life. If you have concerns about heart disease or gum disease, consult with a medical or dental professional to develop a solution that meets your goals.