Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women? With over 600,000 Americans dying from heart disease on a yearly basis, changes in diet and lifestyles are important. There are many changes recommended by years of research, but did you know that seeing your dentist is one of the most important changes you can make to stay heart healthy?
Cardiologists recommend that you see your dentist who will perform a periodontal screening and customize how many times a year you need to be seen for maintenance of your periodontal health. Research has shown that having gum disease triples your risk for heart disease. It also shows that half of all adult Americans have gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammatory response to a bacterial infection that can age the body, brain, and heart. This inflammation and bacteria may eventually lead to narrowing of important arteries. This means you are at greater risk for a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. Studies show that patients who receive periodontal cleanings and therapy (such as laser debridement and antibiotics) improved their cardiovascular risk profile. So to help avoid heart disease, having regular oral health screenings are key, especially since gum disease is a silent disease (there is no pain until it is too late to save teeth). Just brushing two times per day, flossing and reducing sugar intake will reduce your risk significantly, but it is very important to be under your dentist’s care on a regular basis. Insurance usually only covers two dental cleanings a year, but if your dentist determines that more visits are necessary, it is an excellent, inexpensive investment in your overall health.