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The month of February came by fast, but it isn’t too late to remember it’s American Heart Month. And did you know that your heart and oral health are connected in more ways than one?

At WhiteWing Dental, our McAllen dentists know that taking care of your heart and oral health can be accomplished with proper dental care. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some of the facts to prove it.

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What should I look for when it comes to a healthy mouth?

A great indicator of your oral health and hygiene can be determined with a simple check of your gum line. Gums that are swollen and red are key indicators of gingivitis.

When plaque—a colorless film of bacteria that gathers on your teeth—release their toxins, they can seep into your gum line. The toxins irritate the gum tissue, causing the gum disease gingivitis. That is why it is highly recommended that you brush and floss at least twice a day. Brushing and flossing remove plaque buildup, which in turn stops the release of the toxins that irritate your gums.

A clear sign that you may have gingivitis is when you brush and spit a little bit of blood. Gingivitis causes the gums to bleed when you brush, and if left untreated, gingivitis can ultimately turn into periodontitis, a gum disease that cannot only cause permanent tooth loss but permanent jaw bone damage as well.

The good news, however, is that gingivitis is reversible. But with most things, prevention is the best way to “cure” gingivitis. Consider the following tips to help prevent gingivitis:

  • Eat a proper diet rich in nutrients for your teeth and jaw.
  • Avoid sodas, foods, and other drinks that are high in sugars and acids. These two ingredients can destroy your enamel, weakening the structural integrity of your teeth, and cause cavities and/or eventual bone loss.
  • Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  • Schedule a regular checkup with your McAllen dentist here at WhiteWing.

Unfortunately, gum diseases often go undiagnosed, and according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, it affects 80 percent of all Americans. Defy the odds by practicing proper dental care and visiting WhiteWing Dental in McAllen or La Feria for regular checkups and cleanings.

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How does oral health affect my cardiovascular health?

Your cardiovascular health is affected by a lot of things including:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

In fact, males around the age of 45 have an 11% lifetime risk of a heart attack compared to a 3% lifetime risk for women the same age.

Missing, but truly important, from that list is oral health. As odd as it may seem, the general state of your oral health can tell you a lot about the overall state of your health.

  1. It can indicate if you are vitamin and mineral-deficient.
  2. It can indicate signs of infection.
  3. It is also a good stress indicator.
  4. It can show signs of diabetes and osteoporosis.

In a recent study from the American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic, gum disease has a direct connection with heart diseases and stroke, with the bacteria that make up plaque being one of the main causes.

This bacteria can enter your bloodstream, where if it reaches a portion of your heart that is damaged, it will latch on and cause inflammation. This condition is known as endocarditis, and other heart diseases like atherosclerosis—clogged arteries—and stroke have been linked to the same bacteria that causes this inflammation.

Practicing proper oral health and hygiene is truly your best defense against plaque, both on your teeth and gums, and in your heart and arteries.

Do Your Heart a Favor and Come Get Your Teeth Cleaned at WhiteWing Dental.

Exercise and a proper diet can do wonders for your cardiovascular health, but don’t forget about those pearly whites. Not only will proper oral care keep your smile beautiful, it may even save your life one day.

Our McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental truly care for our patients and want to improve their quality of life by improving their dental health. Contact us at (956) 686-5577 to schedule your checkup or cleaning today.