February is Heart Health Month and a great time to promote healthy ways to take care of the hardest working muscle in the body. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It is an equal opportunity killer which claims approximately 1 million lives annually.
People with good oral health have better overall health. Those who brush and floss regularly have less inflammation and systemic inflammation. Why does it matter?
How are my gums and my heart-related?
Gum disease and periodontal disease are caused by specific bacteria. When these bacteria are released into the bloodstream, they attack weak parts of the heart, vessels, and other organs. Long term, this can cause inflammation of the heart.
Gum disease and periodontal disease are chronic inflammatory conditions like coronary artery disease. There’s a great deal of overlap and controlling inflammation is integral to better overall health.
Electric toothbrushes are more thorough and clean better than manual.
Routine brushing and flossing removes plaque and bacteria from the teeth. This decreases inflammation and bacterial load absorbed through your gums.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue. The tongue has grooves on it that trap food and bacteria.
Why does my dentist care about my heart?
Patients always ask why we take their blood pressure and we always say “because we care”.
We also want to call awareness to a silent killer that has many symptoms that are easily ignored, including some that your dental team can often detect before your primary care physician.
1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure
Patients see their dentist 2 to 4 times a year. They may only see their physician every few years. Therefor hygienists and dentists are the ideal professional to screen for high blood pressure.
What is blood pressure and why does it matter if its high?
Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure of the blood in the vessels being pumped by the heart. It indicates the health of the heart and its abilities.
1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Given this statistic, the American Heart Association has recently lowered its blood pressure goal to below 120 and below 80. Detecting hypertension early will help limit future problems.
How do we show our patients we care?
We take blood pressure at every visit.
We screen for gum disease and periodontal disease and discuss the measurements with each patient.
Use laser is periodontal therapy to further reduce bacteria.
Oral rinses are recommended
There’s no denying that we have a long way to go in bringing down the staggering statistics around heart health and heart disease. Yes. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It is also one of the most preventable.
Your heart deserves to be taken care of and so do our patients.