Dental Care and Heart Health: What You Should Know

Dental Care and Heart Health – Toronto

It is unfortunate but true: cardiovascular disease is a major issue for American men and women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 600,000 people pass away due to heart disease in the United States, making up one-quarter of all deaths. At The Art of Dentistry, our dental professionals are committed to helping patients enjoy excellent oral and overall health. We provide a variety of restorative dentistry treatments to treat dental diseases and disorders, repairing your smile and improving your general well being. In order to provide outstanding preventive care, we work to understand the connection between general health and oral hygiene. Read on to learn more about dental care and heart health from our Toronto dental team.

Your Gums and Your Heart

Periodontal infection occurs when bacteria collect under the gum line, causing uncomfortable inflammation, sensitivity, redness, bleeding, or even tooth loss. Numerous studies have reported a clear connection between gum disease and heart health. For example, a public health report from Columbia University found that the presence of periodontal bacteria in patients’ mouths increased their risk for artery blockages. Gum disease is also a risk factor for blood vessel disorders, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

While scientists are still unsure about the exact relationship between gum disease and heart disease, they hypothesize that the two could be connected by the systemic bacteria and inflammation involved in both.

Treating Gum Disease to Protect Your Heart

To reduce your gum disease risks and improve your heart health, we recommend practicing excellent oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes can help to scrub away bacteria-filled plaque. You also shouldn’t skimp on flossing, which can clean debris and bacteria from between your teeth and under your gums. To preserve your well being, we also suggest coming in for routine cleanings and exams. During these appointments, we can assess your tissues for symptoms of periodontal infection.

If you suffer from gum disease, we may recommend laser periodontal treatment to fight bacteria. We can use a precise, powerful beam of light to simply eliminate bacteria along your gum line or perform more in-depth root planing and scaling beneath your tissue. Laser treatment is an efficient, effective, minimally invasive, and safe method for killing potentially harmful bacteria and thereby safeguarding your cardiovascular health.

Heart Medications and Dry Mouth

If you suffer from cardiovascular disease, your doctor might prescribe medications to help you keep your condition under control. Unfortunately, in some cases, these substances can be harmful to your oral health. Many heart medications cause xerostomia, or dry mouth, a condition in which you stop producing sufficient saliva. This can increase your risk for gum disease, cavities, and other oral health conditions since your saliva acts as a natural mouthwash, equipped with enzymes to break down food debris and antibacterial compounds. To treat your dry mouth, we may recommend special rinses, medicated toothpastes, or artificial saliva. You can also improve your oral health by drinking plenty of water, chewing sugarless gum, and avoiding dehydrating beverages like soda.

Enjoy a Heart-healthy Smile

Dental care and heart health are connected in numerous ways. At the Art of Dentistry, we can help you reduce your risk for cardiac disease by keeping your gums healthy and maintaining a hydrated mouth while taking heart medications. Contact our practice today to learn more or schedule a consultation.