Can dentists spot patients at risk of heart disease?

As unlikely as it may seem, not taking care of your teeth and gums can have serious consequences for your cardiovascular health. Don’t believe us? Read on to find out how your dentist may know more than you might expect about your general wellbeing.

Gum disease is linked to cardiovascular disease

Coronary heart disease is a big problem in the UK – in fact, it is the number one cause of death for both men and women. Caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries that interrupt the flow of blood around the body, heart disease results in major health complications even when it isn’t fatal.

  • An average of 435 people each day (one every three minutes) die from heart and circulatory disease.
  • A British Medical Journal study of 11,000 people in Scotland found that participants who brushed their teeth infrequently had a 70% increased risk of a cardiovascular disease than participants who brushed their teeth twice a day.
  • Scientists believe that bacteria found in infected gum tissue breaks down the barrier between the gums and tissue beneath, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can cause blood clots and potentially cause heart attacks.

Losing more than two teeth in middle age could increase the risk of heart disease

Although regular exercise and a balanced diet are vital for our overall health, dental hygiene may also play an important role when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease. A study presented to the American Heart Association meeting found that the adults with 25 to 32 natural teeth at the start of the study who lost two or more teeth had a 23 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease than those with no tooth loss.

How can I prevent gum disease?

You can minimise your risk of gum disease by:

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day, paying careful attention to the area around the gumline.
  • Giving up smoking: Smoking is a primary contributor to gum disease.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum – this helps to promote the production of saliva, which clears food particles from the mouth.
  • Eating a balanced diet – the bacteria that cause gum disease thrive on sugar, so cutting down on sugary snacks can help to keep gum tissue healthy.
  • Attending regular dental checkups: Routine visits to your dental hygienist here at Exeter Advanced Dentistry are vital for keeping your gums in top condition.

If you would like to make an appointment with our dental hygienist, Gayle, please contact one of our helpful team members today.

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