The health of your smile shapes your overall health
If you could reduce your risk of heart disease with an action that required just four minutes per day, would you do it?
Brushing your teeth twice a day (for two minutes each time) can significantly lower your risk of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and other overall health problems. When you protect your oral health, you protect so much more. That’s the message of Oral Systemic Health Awareness month, taking place each October.
During check-ups, Dr. Marc Whitmore and our team talk with our patients about the overall health of your teeth and gums. The health of your mouth can enable you to protect your beautiful smile throughout your life, and it benefits the health of your whole body.
Keep bad bacteria at bay
Research has shown that inflammation and infection in your gums goes hand-in-hand with health problems throughout the body. Bad bacteria present in inflamed or infected gums easily travel to other parts of the body and contribute to poor health. Here’s a closer look at the connection:
- Heart attacks and stroke. People with higher levels of disease-causing oral bacteria were more likely to have hardening (atherosclerosis) of the neck’s major arteries, the carotid arteries. (Research conducted by Columbia University and reported by Web MD). When these arteries are narrowed, the individual is more at risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Endocarditis Lack of oral health can also contribute to endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart and caused by bacteria from elsewhere in the body, including the mouth. This medical condition is a risk for people who have already experienced heart problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Diabetes increases a person’s vulnerability to gum disease. Severe gum disease can increase blood sugar levels and worsen diabetes symptoms.
- Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and gum disease are both connected with changes in hormone levels and are greater risks for women after menopause, according to studies by the Case Western University School of Dental Medicine.
Gum disease—a silent threat that you can stop!
Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Bleeding gums can be one of the first symptoms of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Other symptoms include swollen gums, receding gums, and bad breath.
If you’re having these symptoms, call Whitmore Dental. During a check-up, we can assess the health of your teeth and gums and give you tips for self-care. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed. Once gingivitis progresses to periodontitis (gum disease) and your gums become infected, treatment is more extensive. Surgery may be required, and teeth can be lost if the disease has advanced too far.
Other tips for protecting your teeth against gum disease include flossing daily and using a Sonicare toothbrush every day. A Sonicare toothbrush does an amazing job of getting rid of plaque on the teeth. Left alone, plaque hardens to tartar within a couple days and then can only be removed with dental instruments.
When was your last dental check-up? To arrange a consultation, contact Janet or Rachel at Whitmore Dental at 877-779-4486. We are conveniently located at 5932 West Parker Road Suite 600, Plano, TX 75093.