Start Young to Protect Your Oral Health & Heart Health



February is both National Children’s Dental Health Month and American Heart Month. Now is the perfect time to learn about the connection between our oral health and heart health and to establish good oral care habits!  Establishing good oral care habits while young will not only keep your mouth healthy, but will help protect your heart as well!

Dental Health & Heart Health Are Connected

In a previous article, we began to explore how dental health can affect our overall health. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how our mouths and heart are connected.

Good oral health care can limit the buildup of plaque and tartar on our teeth. When plaque and tartar go unchecked, bacteria thrive and lead to infection.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the gum and bone tissue that support teeth. In its early stage—called gingivitis—gums become swollen and red and may bleed easily. When inflammation and infection become more serious, the gums pull away from the tooth, bone is lost, and teeth may become loose and fall out.

Gum Disease Warning Signs

  • Swollen, red, and tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Bad breath or taste that won’t go away
  • Loosening teeth or teeth that are moving apart

Gum Disease Warning Signs

There are several connections between periodontal disease and your heart.

Long-term gum disease may indicate inflammation in the rest of the body, which can be a prediction of cardiovascular disease. Studies show that those with gum disease may be two times at risk for heart attack and stroke.

Our gums are full of blood vessels. When damaged, bacteria make its way into the bloodstream, travel to the heart, and get caught in the plaque or blockages in heart arteries. Gum disease is also linked with worsening heart valve infections.

Poor oral health is linked with worsening blood pressure and can interfere with hypertension medication.

Help Your Children Make a Commitment to Their Oral Health…and Heart Health

National Children’s Dental Health Month and American Heart Month are the perfect time to start long-lasting habits that will not only lead to healthy mouths but healthy hearts and bodies. Dr. Karly Canney, DDS suggests, “Parents and caregivers can model and support good oral health care habits for their children, and we’re excited to help!”

  • Brush two times per day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean in between teeth
  • Eat healthy foods and limit sugary drinks and snacks
  • Visit your dentist two times a year, or as recommended for regular cleanings and check-ups.

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