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Oral Health and the Health of Your Heart

February 11, 2014

In just a few days, couples across the country will be
celebrating Valentine’s Day. Given
how much the heart figures into Valentine’s cards, candy and decorations, now
seems like a good time to make you aware of the connection between your oral
health—and specifically gum disease—and
your overall health. Are you surprised to hear that there’s a connection at
all? Many people don’t realize that one exists, but according to recent data,
it does.
Gum disease
starts with the accumulation of bacteria and plaque around the gum line. Over
time, as these two irritate the mouth’s soft tissues, an infection will develop,
resulting in symptoms like bleeding, sensitivity, swelling and more. Given enough
time, gum disease creates pockets
between the teeth and gum line. From these pockets bacteria and plaque can gain
access to the body’s bloodstream, traveling to, among other places, the heart,
where they can contribute to clotting and even heart attacks.
Gum disease has
also been linked to other
kinds of health problems
, including:
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Stroke
  • Pre-term birth
  • Diabetes
  • Pneumonia
How can you prevent health problems related to gum disease? By following a few simple
First, make sure you’re following a good brushing and
flossing regimen. Brushing twice a day—or after every meal, if you can—will help
you keep bacteria and plaque from building up around your teeth, while flossing
once a day will help you clean between your teeth. You can also add an
antibacterial mouthwash to your routine to make it more effective.
The next step you can take is to see Dr. Folck or Dr. Santos on
a regular basis for checkups and cleanings. Checkups will help us spot gum disease before it develops into a
serious problem; cleanings give us a chance to remove bacteria and plaque you
couldn’t get by yourself at home.
Do you have questions about the oral health-heart health
connection? Is it time for your next checkup and cleaning? Call Smile by Design today for an
appointment. We serve patients from Virginia
, Fort Story, Sandbridge, and beyond.

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