Go Red for Women month is February …
And are you aware that the mouth is connected to the heart?
The Mouth-Body Connection
Diseases like diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV infections and AIDS lower the body’s resistance to infection. This can make periodontal diseases more common and more severe. Ongoing inflammation from periodontitis is linked with heart disease, blocked arteries and stroke. People with diabetes commonly have periodontal disease and are more likely to develop and have more severe periodontitis than are nondiabetics.
Although periodontitis may relate to these health concerns, this does not mean that one condition causes the other. But it is known that diabetics and smokers are at higher risk of developing periodontal diseases. Researchers are still looking at what happens when periodontitis is treated in patients with these health problems.
Healthy gums: Teeth are held firmly in place by the gums, bone and periodontal ligament. When calculus develops the gums become detached from the teeth.
Periodontitis: In time, as plaque and tartar build up along the gum line, plaque bacteria break down the soft tissues that support the tooth. As the disease progresses, bacteria also attack the bone.
What you can do
Brush your teeth well twice a day. In addition, you should floss or use other between-the-teeth cleaner once a day. Consider also using an antimicrobial (germ-fighting) mouth rinse every day.
- Choose dental products that have the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal tells you that the product is not only safe, but it also does what it says it does.
- Schedule regular dental visits. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar (or calculus), which traps plaque bacteria along or below the gum line.
- Tell your dentist about changes in your overall health, like any recent illnesses or ongoing conditions. Provide an updated health history including medication use-both prescription and over-the-counter products.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco. If you use tobacco, talk with your dentist about options for quitting.
- Manage dry mouth. Too little saliva in the mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Many medicines cause dry mouth. If you think you may have dry mouth, talk with your dentist about ways to manage it.
Patient education content ©2014 American Dental Association.