Can Going to the Dentist Save Your Heart?

dentist and heart health

Did you know that seeing your dentist can prevent cardiovascular disease?

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You might be like most people and loathe going to the dentist. Even a routine checkup can be uncomfortable and something you'd rather not go through unless you had to. At minimum, it always involves drool running out of your mouth, and if you're having a cleaning done, some sharp pains here and there.

But going to the dentist is more important than making sure your teeth don't fall out. You might forget – but your mouth has a lot of bacteria, and if these bacteria grow unchecked, they can do damage to more than just your gums and teeth. If poor oral hygiene leaves your gums chronically inflamed, doctors found that it can cause a chain reaction that can clog your blood vessels. Even worse, if the bacterial growth in your gums gets severe, the bacteria can travel to your heart and start infecting it.

If you're pregnant, gum bacterial overgrowth can also cause premature birth!

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Researchers also found that poor oral hygiene could cause Alzheimer's.

If you're diabetic or have a compromised immune system (like with HIV or if you're on immunosuppressants), your body has a tougher time keeping the bacteria in your mouth under control, which makes oral infections more likely. This is why Dr. Courtney Gieseke of Cornerstone Dental says it's more important for patients with conditions that cause immunosuppression to keep their regular checkups. It also helps improve diabetes – researchers found that diabetics who stay on top of their oral health have easier control of their blood sugar levels.

Tips for Great Oral Health

It might sound redundant, but make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and floss. Bacteria can build up in your toothbrush if you don't change it, so rinse with mouthwash for 60 seconds to sterilize your mouth. Doing these three things will keep the bacteria in your mouth from overgrowing.

Eat less sugary foods. Researchers found that when you regularly eat carb-rich and sugar-rich foods, you have an increased risk of dental disease. You'll also lose more weight if you keep off the sugary stuff!

Keeping your mouth healthy isn't just good for your smile, it also protects your heart. Never forget to brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. And even though it's a pain – see your dentist for your regular checkup – it's very important for your brain, heart, and to protect you from serious diseases.

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