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Bright Smile, Healthy Heart: How Oral Hygiene Affects Cardiovascular Wellness

January 26, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drprather @ 6:05 pm
Man eating for good oral hygiene and working out for heart health

February is American Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular health and promoting heart disease prevention. While many focus on traditional heart-healthy habits like exercise and a balanced diet, there are other aspects left unexplored. For instance, did you know there’s a big connection between oral hygiene and heart health?

If you want to learn how keeping your smile healthy will also keep your heart strong, continue reading.

The Oral Hygiene & Heart Connection

Your mouth is the gateway to your body, what affects one will eventually trickle down to affect everything else.

For example, poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, causing inflammation and infection. Once the disease has taken hold, it allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream. While there, these bacteria can cause inflammation in the blood vessels.

This causes the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty deposits build up in the arteries. Over time, this buildup can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Avoid Heart Issues with Oral Hygiene and More

Fortunately, taking care of your oral health is relatively simple and can have huge benefits for your heart. Here are some tips to keep your smile bright and your heart healthy:

Brush and Floss Regularly

Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing before bed. This helps remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums, reducing the risk of gum disease and its complications.

Visit Your Dentist At Least Twice A Year

Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings with your dentist. These visits allow your dentist to detect and treat any oral health issues early, preventing them from progressing. In turn, this will stop these issues from potentially affecting your heart health.

Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains supports health for your whole body, even your mouth. Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks, as they can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Avoid Tobacco Products

Smoking and using tobacco products increase the risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and heart disease. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to quit. You can also reach out to local groups dedicated to helping its members kick the habit.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can adversely affect your entire body due to an excess of cortisol in your system. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities you enjoy.

Stay Active

Regular physical activity is essential for heart health and can also help your oral health by reducing inflammation and promoting circulation.

By prioritizing your oral health and adopting heart-healthy habits, you can protect both your smile and your heart! This year, take steps to celebrate American Heart Month with a smile. If you need guidance, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment.

About the Author

If you’re ready to help your heart by aiding your smile, Dr. James Kirby is here to help! He earned his dental doctorate from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Ever since then, he has been treating his patients with modern dental technology and compassion. Call (615) 327-2123 to schedule an appointment at Green Hills Dental Center, or visit the website to explore their full menu of services.

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