It is widely known that oral health is important, but perhaps the measure of just how important is more of a gray area. Many people are not aware that taking care of your mouth also contributes to taking care of your heart. Oral health problems such as gingivitis and plaque build-up lead to an increased risk for heart attach and stroke. Visiting Mina Levi DDS Dentist San Francisco is not only important for your mouth, but also good for your heart. Below we discuss some of the linkages between oral health and heart health, and how we can improve both.
1. Periodontitis. Some people have a disease called periodontitis, or advanced gum disease, which is an infection around the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. People with this disease are unknowingly releasing bacteria into their bloodstream while brushing or chewing food. This bacteria clings to blood vessels, increasing clot formation and plaque in arteries which leads to an increase in blood pressure and risk of heart attack and stroke.
2. Toxins. When plaque and oral bacteria sit in the mouth, they can release toxins that are very similar to healthy proteins that are found in arteries and blood vessels. When the body's immune system goes to respond, they may attack healthy proteins as well and cause harm to the body.
3. Inflammation. Gingivitis, an early stage of periodontitis, is an inflammation of the gums caused by the build-up of plaque on the teeth. Inflammation of the gums causes an inflammation response elsewhere in the body such as in arteries and blood vessels. This inflammation decreases blood flow and increases risk for heart attack and stroke.
So, what can we do about it? The most important action to take in improving your oral health is to visit the Dentist San Francisco at least twice a year. The Dentist San Francisco can help identify gum disease and also help improve the situation for optimal health. Another important action is to know the warning signs of gum disease:
1. Gums which are red in color, and/or tender and swollen.
2. Gums bleeding when brushed or touched.
3. Gums seeming to be "pulling away" from the teeth, or large periodontal pockets.
4. Bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth even with normal brushing habits.
5. Teeth seeming to be separating from each other or feel loos in the gums.
If you notice any of these signs, visit the Dentist San Francisco to diagnose gum disease and periodontitis and begin treatment for a healthier mouth and a healthier heart.
Topics: Dentist San Francisco, gum disease, periodontitis, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, oral bacteria, dental plaque