Four Healthy Habits for a Healthy Heart & Healthy Mouth
Every February, the American Heart Association celebrates American Heart Month. American Heart Month is about promoting healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. Keep reading for a list of healthy habits that can help keep both your heart AND your mouth healthy!
1) Choose healthy foods and drinks.
Healthy foods and drinks like fresh fruits and vegetables and water can help you maintain a healthy weight. This is important because being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease, and puts extra stress on your heart and blood vessels while they work to pump blood around your body. Healthy food can also decrease the risk of cavities, which is good for your oral health! Visit the CDC website for information about assessing a healthy weight for you.
2) Quit smoking (or do not start!)
Smoking greatly increases your risk for both heart disease and periodontal (gum) disease. Quitting can lower your risk for both- a win-win! Smoking changes the environment in your mouth to allow for bad bacteria to grow. It also affects your blood vessels in your mouth and your white blood cells, so the gum tissue cannot heal or protect itself from the bacteria. This makes treatment less effective as well. We have had a lot of patients quit smoking and see good results but treatment, but we know it is hard! Both Missouri and the CDC have resources to help.
3) Practice good dental hygiene at home
Keeping your teeth and gums clean can decrease your risk of heart disease, including heart attacks, stroke and hypertension (high blood pressure). Bacteria from the mouth have been found in buildup in arteries and increased inflammation in your mouth can affect your heart. Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, and flossing once per day can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
4) See your periodontist or dentist regularly
Even with the best toothbrushing and flossing habits, there are often spots we miss at home. Unfortunately, these areas often do not hurt until they have become big problems. Regular visits to your dentist can help find problems when they are small (and possibly reversible!). Just like everything else in life, smaller problems are easier to fix than bigger problems! A periodontal office specializes in the gum and bone health, and have years of extra training and experience treating all kinds of gum and bone problems- big and small. We can help make sure your oral health is promoting the heart health you want.
The four practices above can help keep a healthy mouth and healthy heart. Let us know if you have questions by commenting below or giving us a call- (636) 242-6450.