This Valentine’s Day, instead of addressing the obvious chocolate consumption and cavity risk for our weekly blog, we are going to discuss heart health and its relationship to oral health! According to the Government of Canada, heart disease affects more than 2 million Canadians and is the second leading cause of death in Canada. You may know of many ways to help with the health of your heart including eating a balanced diet, monitoring blood pressure and reducing smoking, but did you know that your gum health has a big impact on your cardiovascular health as well? In fact, the bacteria present in the mouth in those with periodontal disease is the same bacteria found in the bloodstream of those with heart disease.
What can be done to reduce the risk?
- Floss, floss, floss. You’ve heard it before. If you aren’t cleaning in between your teeth, it is estimated that you are missing about 30% of bacteria from tooth surfaces. Combine that bacteria with inflamed gums and you have a direct route for the bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
- Consider using an antiseptic, alcohol free mouthrinse. Mouthrinses such as Listerine Zero will help to reduce the bacteria in your mouth.
- Use a xylitol product such as gum or mints. Xylitol is a unique natural sweetener that helps to increase your saliva production helping to wash away harmful bacteria. Xylitol also changes the environment in your mouth to be one that is not very friendly for the “bad” bacteria while allowing your good bacteria to flourish.
- See your dental office for your regular preventive appointments. Regular hygiene appointments not only reduce the inflammation and bacteria in your mouth, but they allow the assessment of your overall oral health by a dental professional. Abscessed teeth and decay generate bacteria as well, and these conditions are best treated as early as possible.
Our team of dental professionals is passionate about your oral health and the impact that it has on your overall health. This Valentine’s Day, and this Heart Health Month, please consider looking after your heart health by making an appointment at your local Barrie Dentist, Simcoe Family Dentistry!