Strong teeth, healthy gums, and a beautiful smile – these are just some of the benefits of a good at-home oral hygiene regimen and routine professional dental care. What many may not realize is that a healthy heart is another potential benefit of good oral hygiene. By undergoing general dentistry treatments to preserve oral health, and restorative dentistry treatments to repair dental problems that may compromise oral health, patients may actually decrease their risk of heart disease. Dr. Toni Sartini understands the link between dental care and heart health, and provides our Palmyra, IN patients with the dental services they need to support a healthy smile and a healthy heart.
Understanding the Link between Oral Health and Heart Health
Dental care has long been recognized as an important tool in preserving strong, healthy teeth and gums. However, in recent years more studies have shown that good oral health can also help to promote good physical health in general. A number of these studies focus specifically on the link between oral hygiene and heart health. The relationship between oral health and heart health seems to work in two ways: first, patients with poor oral health have been shown to be at a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease; second, patients who suffer from heart disease are more likely to suffer from dental problems such as tooth decay, infection, and gum disease. What these findings suggest is that quality dental care can help to promote heart health, while those who already suffer from heart problems need to be especially vigilant about maintaining good oral hygiene habits to preserve the health of their teeth and gums.
The Benefits of Professional Dental Care
Good at-home oral hygiene habits are important in the maintenance of oral health, but professional dental care offers the superior level of care that allows patients to avoid serious dental complications. Professional cleanings reach areas of the teeth and gums that can’t be adequately cleaned with a toothbrush alone, while exams allow Dr. Sartini to diagnose potential areas of concern so that they can be treated before they progress into bigger problems. Dental services that can be especially beneficial to those patients who are concerned about heart health. Your dental care should include:
Regular dental cleanings: Dental cleanings should be scheduled at least twice a year. These cleanings remove plaque and tartar and decrease the amount of bacteria around the teeth and gums. Some doctors theorize that bacteria in the mouth can be carried to the heart through the blood; this may be one reason why heart disease is more common in patients with poor oral health.
Restorative dentistry services: Even with routine dental cleanings, it is not uncommon for patients to suffer from tooth decay or erosion. If left untreated, these conditions can develop into an infection. Infection and inflammation are two characteristics of poor oral health that are believed to increase a patient’s risk of heart disease, so restorative dentistry treatments are especially important to preserving heart health.
Periodontal treatment: While there seems to be a link between heart health and oral health in general, the strongest connection can be found in those suffering from gum disease. Periodontal treatment treats the inflammation that is caused by gum disease and promotes the healing of healthy gum tissue. This treatment may be especially beneficial for those at risk of heart disease.
Professional dental care is a huge asset to patients who are looking to maintain a smile that is strong, healthy, and beautiful. If dental care can also help to preserve the health of the heart, that is just one more reason to focus on good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental care. To learn more about the connection between dental care and heart health, or to ask questions about our wide range of dental services, contact us at your earliest convenience.