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Healthy Gums, Healthy Heart

brush and floss before plague turns to tartarWhen it comes to deadly disease in America, nothing can touch cardiovascular disease, not even cancer. Indeed: about 600,000 people a year are killed by heart problems, which works out to about 1,600 people dying from heart disease every single day. That makes it the leading cause of death among both men and women, responsible for more than a quarter of all total deaths.

You’ve heard all the usual things about protecting your heart from potentially fatal disease. Get off your (butt) and start exercising regularly. Cut the red meat and fatty foods out of your diet.

And that’s all good advice. But there are a few, less obvious things you could be doing to keep your heart healthy.

It turns out that brushing and flossing does more than provide you with a bright white smile and keep the cavities away. Maintaining the health of your gums will help you maintain the health of your heart as well.

How It Works: the Gums-Heart Connection

Okay, so you’ve got your gums in your mouth and your heart is a foot and a half down and little to the left in your chest.

How are they connected?

Well, your gums, like just about every part of your body, are connected to your heart by blood vessels. An infection that forms in your gums could travel down those vessels and contribute to clots that put your heart at higher risk of complication.

And this isn’t theoretical stuff we’re talking about. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) discovered that gum disease is a significant risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) agrees, confirming with their own research that gum disease is indeed closely related to heart disease.

What You Can Do About It

The solution is pretty simple, really. If you’ve got any of the following symptoms, it’s time to step up your oral care game:

  • Swollen, red, or otherwise irritated gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be separating from teeth
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

Ideally you would have brushed and flossed the plaque away before it hardened into tartar and made your mouth a hot spot for bacteria in the first place. But you didn’t! So now it’s time to deal with it…

Take a trip to the dentist, where you’ll be treated with the finest scaling and planning tools available to give your teeth the deep clean it needs to keep the bacteria at bay. If stronger measures are necessary, you’ll be able to get that done, too.

Deal with these problems now before you get an infected nerve that requires a root canal or a heart problem that could end your life. That may sound a little strong, but it really is the worst case, yet still possible, scenario for this situation.

Brush and floss! Or if you neglected your oral health and now you’ve got problems, deal with them now! You’ll regret it if you don’t

Contact us at (206) 842-4848 for more information about our gum care and other dental services.

Eli Thornock
I was born and raised in eastern Washington and I received my dental training at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, Class of 2011. Since then, I have been practicing in a private practice setting and have also completed more than one hundred hours of continuing education.
Eli Thornock
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