February is American Heart Month, dedicated to reducing the impact of heart disease in America. Heart disease kills about 2300 Americans every day, and many of these deaths are young men and women who had much left to offer their families and their communities. Many cases of heart disease are preventable, and we understand the things we should do to keep ourselves healthy: eat right, lose weight, exercise, and see our dentist.
You didn’t know that seeing your dentist is important to maintaining your heart health? Let us share all the ways that we can help you maintain your heart health.
Oral Disease Hurts Your Heart
Your mouth is the gateway to your body. When it’s unhealthy, the disease in your mouth enters your body and can cause sickness there. The impact can affect many systems in your body. It can cause digestive problems. It can contribute to pneumonia risk. But the part of the body that it hurts the worst might be your heart.
Poor oral health has been associated with heart disease. The most studied link is with gum disease. Oral bacteria enters your bloodstream through the gums and can travel to your heart. In some cases, this can lead directly to a heart infection. But it’s more common for bacteria to accumulate in your blood vessels. Oral bacteria are commonly found in arterial plaque. Not only that, but new research suggests that the fat clogging our arteries might also be made by oral bacteria, and not come from fatty foods.
But it’s not just gum disease that hurts your heart. Infected teeth can also pass bacteria into your blood, leading to increased risk of heart disease.
The good news is that maintaining your oral health can protect your heart, too. Treating gum disease can reduce your risk of heart disease.
But the best way to protect your heart is to make regular dental visits. New research shows that people who see their dentist regularly have a 23% lower risk of stroke than those who only see their dentist when they have a problem. That’s almost as much as exercise, which has been estimated to reduce stroke risk by 25%!
A Better Way to Treat Sleep Apnea
Another way your dentist can help your heart is by finding a better sleep apnea treatment for you. Sleep apnea causes your breathing to stop at night. When your brain senses the low oxygen levels, it tells your heart to pump harder. This contributes to high blood pressure, which can damage your heart and cause other serious health risks. Untreated sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition.
Most doctors will prescribe CPAP for sleep apnea, but it doesn’t work for everybody. If you find that you can’t get into the CPAP routine, it’s too uncomfortable, you can’t wear it all night, or it has too many unpleasant side effects, we offer an alternative.
Oral appliances are as effective as CPAP at treating sleep apnea. And they’re more comfortable and convenient. For many people, oral appliances are the right way to treat sleep apnea. We offer several different appliances so you can find the one that’s best for you. This includes the DNA appliance, which can cure some cases of sleep apnea so you don’t need treatment in the future.
For Heart’s Sake Make an Appointment
So, if you’re looking for a way to protect the health of your heart in Columbus, OH, maybe it’s time to make an appointment with our dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry. Please call (614) 848-5001 today to schedule yours. Not only will you have a brighter, healthier smile, but you’ll also have a smile in your healthier, happier heart.