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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Here’s To Your Heart (and your Teeth)

Jan 29, 2015 08:46PM
By Dr. Terry Victor

February marks National Heart Health Month. This is the perfect time to take your loved one to the dentist. Yes, the dentist. Did you know there is a connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease?  A study done by the American Dental Association (ADA) with 170,000 people from the general population found that “People who had periodontitis or a history of periodontitis also tend to have coronary heart disease.” Early detection of heart disease can prevent major heart problems.

So, what can be done to avoid periodontal disease?  First, periodontal disease is a gum disease. Gum disease begins when plaque which has not been removed by brushing or flossing hardens and becomes tartar. Only your dentist or dental hygienist is able to remove the tartar. The plaque comes from bacteria which we all have and as it builds up you may develop gingivitis which is a milder gum disease, one which you can get rid of by brushing, flossing and seeing a professional regularly.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, periodontitis is the advanced gum disease which can include gums pulling away from teeth forming spaces below the gum line. The bacteria will break down bone and the connective tissue holding teeth in place. If left untreated, eventually the teeth will have to be removed. That is why it is so important to keep your mouth clean and keep regular appointments with your dentist, to help avoid potential for gum disease.

Did you know some medicines may increase your risk of developing gum disease?  Let your dentist know what medicines you are taking. Wondering if you may have periodontitis?  The best thing is to see your dentist, as not everyone experiences the warning signs, listed below as according to Mouth Healthy.org.

*gums bleed easily

*red or swollen, even tender gums

*gums which have pulled away from teeth

*persistent bad breath or a bad taste in mouth

*permanent teeth which are separating from gums or loose

*any change in the fit of your bite

*any change in the fitting of partial dentures

 

See your dentist if you suspect you have any of the above signs. The sooner you get treated, the better.

According to the American Heart Association, the following are common areas you can avoid to keep both your heart and mouth healthy:

*quit smoking

*proper diet

*exercise/stay active

*control blood pressure

 

Do these four things: see your doctor regularly, brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day and see your dentist twice a year to make staying healthy a family affair.

 

Dr. Terry Victor, DDS, is a dentist in Washington, D.C., providing holistic, biological, and eco-friendly general restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Victor is an accredited member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) and is also certified by the Eco-Dentistry Association. For more information, visit TheDCDentist.com.

 

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