Serveral published scientific studies have linked poor dental health to increased risk of heart disease. One such study found that mouth infections are a risk factor for stroke. Participants in the study who had suffered a stroke, were more likely to have gum disease or a mouth infection compared to individuals who have never experienced a stroke. The theory goes that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream where the bacteria can then attach to the fatty deposits in the heart’s blood vessels, increasing the likelihood of heart disease.
Reduce your risk!
You can reduce your risk of gum disease by simply maintaining good dental hygiene practices. Use the following steps as a guide:
1. Brush your teeth
Brush your teeth and along the gum line twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Brushing removes food debris and plaque that contributes to the onset of gum disease. Best to use a small toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid unnecessary inflammation of the gums.
Flossing daily helps to remove hard to reach food debris and plaque which is often missed by brushing.
3. Use toothpaste with fluoride
Adults over the age of 18 should use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. After brushing, avoid rinsing the mouth with water. This will leave a coating of fluoride on the teeth for resulting in longer protection.
4. Eat well
A diet high in sugar can increase your risk of gum disease. Sugar residue on teeth provides food for mouth bacteria that can then multiply. This results in a build up of plaque on your teeth. To avoid this excess plaque, avoid high sugar foods and drinks.
Don’t forget regular check ups with your dentist to keep on top of your oral health. Try to book in every six months as a minimum. Seeking treatment for gum disease early can help to save your teeth and prevent further complications. If you experience bleed gums, seek advice from your dental professional promptly.
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan