The Heart Of The Matter: How Your Mouth And Cardiovascular Health Are Connected
You know from years living on this Earth that it's really important to take care of your body and keep it safe from all the things that could hurt it – especially when it comes to your heart, which helps keep you alive. But did you know that you heart is inextricably connected to another area in your body that you should be just as careful with? If you're wondering what the connection is between the health of your heart and the health of your gums and teeth, then here's what you need to know.
While it's not yet clear if the link between your heart and your teeth is absolutely definitive – and doctors have been arguing about it for years – there are some definite ties that you should be aware of. For example, gum disease by itself is considered a risk factor for coronary artery disease, and people with poor oral health tend to have more heart attacks than those with stunningly clean mouths.
One of the most indicative factors to tying these two areas of your body together is that both heart problems and gum disease work on the same general principle: inflammation. The build up of plaque in the arteries around your heart is really just an inflammatory process, while the same can be said for gum disease, which begins with your gums becoming tender and inflamed.
A Two-Way Street
Because your heart health and your dental health seem to be connected, it's important that you keep the lines of communication open between your dentist and your doctor – or, rather, between your health conditions in both spheres of your medical life. For example, though a patient with stable angina (heart pain) can undergo pretty much any dental procedure, a patient with unstable angina should only have the bare necessities of dental care until their heart condition is a bit more under control.
It's also important that you share the details of your health regimen for one doctor with the other; some of the medications prescribed for heart conditions (such as high blood pressure) can dry out your mouth, in turn making it easier for your gums to swell up during dental procedures, and creating an environment where bacteria thrive. Blood thinners are also a point of concern for your dentist to know about, as they could cause you to bleed more than usual in a routine oral surgery. Talk to a doctor, like Van Wert County Hospital, for more help.