Recent medical research has explored how oral health impacts a person’s overall health. In particular, it has looked at the relationship between gum disease and heart disease and found that they may, in fact, be related. But how can flossing and brushing daily influence your heart health? Read on and discover what the experts are saying and why you should floss daily.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums and the bone around around the teeth. Typically, the buildup of plaque on teeth, which hardens into tartar, causes gum disease. Tartar is very porous and the perfect nesting ground for bacteria. In turn, if you don’t regularly remove tartar, it can lead to gingivitis, which is the inflammation, redness and swelling of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to gum disease, an infectious disease that attacks the gums and the bone around the teeth. You can decrease your risk of gingivitis and gum disease with regular flossing and brushing.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is a general term that describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Often, it is used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease, which refers to conditions like heart attacks and strokes. These are caused by the narrowing or blockage of key blood vessels.
The link between gum disease and heart disease
So how exactly is gum disease linked to heart disease? Recent research from Harvard Medical School explains that people with gum disease were two to three times more likely to have a stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular events. While more research is needed, there is growing suspicion that inflammation may be the link. According to certain studies, inflammation in the gums and bacteria could provoke a narrowing of important arteries. The swollen blood vessels due to gum inflammation are more permeable and allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Those bacteria are then reaching other parts of the body and cause damages including artery inflammation.
Floss and brush regularly to decrease your risk of disease
While further research is still necessary, there is proof that good oral health contributes to good overall health. As such, flossing and brushing daily will help maintain healthy gums and teeth. In fact, if you floss and brush regularly, you can prevent and even reverse an early stage of gingivitis. Furthermore, regular dental visits are a must. If you are unsure if you brush and floss properly, ask your dentist to demonstrate. Dental exam is essential!
How to floss and brush properly
Making sure you brush and floss every day is important for your health. It can help prevent plaque buildup, gingivitis, and gum disease. But are you doing it right? Here are the recommended techniques from the Canadian Dental Association:
How to brush teeth:
- Brush twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush. Make sure you replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed. Don’t forget to change your toothbrush if you have been sick or if you travelled.
- Hold toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Use a gentle, circular massaging motion, up and down. Do not scrub as it can wear gums.
- Clean every surface of the tooth: inner, outer and chewing surfaces.
- Brush for about two minutes to ensure a thorough cleaning.
How to floss:
- Take a piece of floss that is about the length of your hand to your shoulder. Wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands.
- Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gum line. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times.
- Be sure to floss both sides of every tooth. Don’t forget the backs of your back molars. Go to a new section of the floss as it wears and picks up particles.
To prevent disease and maintain good overall health, brush and floss regularly. Both brushing and flossing can help prevent the development of other diseases, including heart disease. Additionally, regular dental exams are key to maintaining healthy teeth, gums and mouth. Furthermore, visiting your dentist regularly can ensure any oral health conditions are caught and treated early. Book your dental appointment with the Clinique dentaire Fortin Poirier today.