Cleaning your teeth will help improve your oral health, as well as protect your heart. In fact, a recent study in Taiwan concluded that people who visit the dentist regularly for a professional cleaning are 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and 13 percent less likely to have a stroke. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, and Dr. Stephen Burds would like to discuss how keeping your teeth clean can prevent your risk of stroke.
In patients with a history of heart attacks or strokes, the same bacteria that cause gum disease are also found clumped in artery plaques. When bacteria inflame and infect your gum tissue, your gums become weak and create an opening for harmful bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Oral bacteria can damage your blood vessels and arteries. As these bacteria travel through your body, they can infect other areas of your body. Swelling is your body’s natural response to infection, so as your blood cells swell, your passageways narrow—causing blood clots. Additionally, bacteria can stick to fatty plaques in your bloodstream and directly contribute to blockages. Some studies also link chronic inflammation to hardening of the arteries, which leads to strokes.
Keeping Your Mouth Clean
By preventing gum disease, you can help lower your risk for stroke. It’s important to understand that gum disease is a chronic condition, which means it can’t be cured. However, proper techniques can treat gum disease and prevent progression. Here’s how Dr. Burds and the Gateway Dental Team can help keep your mouth—and therefore, your heart—healthy.
- Scaling and root planing: Cleaning your teeth removes harmful bacteria that cause infection and inflammation. Your dental hygienists will clean your gums and periodontal pockets to remove bacteria. Then, we will smooth your roots and apply antibiotics to promote good healing.
- Healthy lifestyle behaviors: Improving your home dental hygiene will help reduce bacterial growth and gum disease progression. Researchers also conclude that people with good dental hygiene are more likely to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and practice other heart-healthy behaviors.
- Check your health: First of all, knowing your family health history will reveal your genetic risk of stroke. Additionally, Dr. Burds can evaluate your gum health to help detect and treat gum disease in its early stages, which prevents the risk of spreading to other areas of your body. You may not be able to feel your arteries hardening, but you will likely notice bleeding gums. Keep an eye out for any warning signs that could be harmful to your health.
Dr. Burds can help keep your mouth healthy and decrease your risk of disease and health complications. Contact Gateway Dental Group in Des Moines, Iowa at (515) 244-9565 to request an appointment. We welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.