By looking after your dental health, there’s a good chance that you’re not only benefiting your pearly whites, but also your heart.
Debate over the dental-heart health connection has been lively in the dental and medical communities for many years. The research isn’t clear cut yet, but there’s mounting evidence that taking care of our teeth and gums also helps our hearts.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in New Zealand, which is why the Tauranga dentists at Tooth Fairy Dental take this link seriously.
What’s the connection?
The theory that many dentists hold is that periodontal (gum) disease allows bacteria to build up in the mouth and enter the bloodstream. When bacteria reaches the heart, it can cause damage, infection and inflammation.
A link does not always imply causation. People with better oral health tend to have healthier hearts, but this could be because these people take better care of themselves in general. They might floss, eat well and exercise more. At our two dental clinics on either side of Tauranga, we see first-hand the link between a healthy lifestyle and healthy teeth on a daily basis.
What we know about the dental-heart connection:
- Moderate or advanced gum disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease
- Proper nutrition helps with both dental and heart health
- Some research indicates that people with less teeth have an increased risk of stroke
- Poor oral health can be a red flag alerting your dentist to other diseases
What you can do:
Brushing and flossing daily is important, as if your annual dental check-up. If you have any of these symptoms or any other concerns, head into Tooth Fairy Dental in Tauranga:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Gums that bleed during brusing, eating or flossing
- Pus or any signs of infection
- Regular bad breath or bad taste
- Loose teeth