February is Dentistry has a Heart Month

Heart disease is one of the most prevalent disorders affecting adults in North America.  With over 1.5 million heart attacks and 600,00 strokes occurring every year, it is important that we all do what we can to keep our hearts healthy.

It’s not widely known how important good oral health is in preventing cardiovascular disease.  To raise awareness, February has been named Dentistry Has a Heart Month – we thought we’d join in the cause – Dentistry has a Heart Month represents a great opportunity for us to help our patients understand the critical role your dental team has to play in your heart health.

Researchers have suggested two possible explanations for the relationship between bad oral health and heart attacks or strokes.

The first is that the bacteria that collect in your gums when you have gingivitis or periodontitis enter your blood stream as your gums bleed, sticking to and inflaming the pre-existing fatty deposits in your coronary arteries (a condition called atherosclerosis).  This can cause blood clots that lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The alternate explanation is that when oral bacteria are released into the blood stream they cause the body to develop antibodies that attach to receptors on the cells lining the blood vessels of the heart.  This can cause an inflammatory reaction that thickens the fatty deposits lining the coronary artery walls, reducing blood flow to dangerous levels.

Good oral care and preventive dentistry are thus critically important in the fight against heart disease.  We recommend that you brush well twice every day (and floss once), and schedule appointments with your dental professionals at least twice a year.

Further, if you are experiencing any of the following signs of gum disease it’s very important to contact us to reserve an oral care appointment right away.

  • Gums that bleed
  • Sore or inflamed gums
  • A receding gum line
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus or infection in the gums
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Increased spaces developing between your teeth

Dentistry Has a Heart Month is a perfect time of year to remind ourselves that making a personal commitment to oral health will improve our overall health and lower the risk of heart disease.