A box of chocolates is an excellent Valentine’s Day gift, but make sure you brush and floss after enjoying those sweets!
You probably already know that sugary confections can cause cavities. But did you know that if you let an untreated cavity live in your mouth too long, it can lead to periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease causes your gums to recede from your teeth, which creates a gap beneath the gum line where bacteria can hide and grow. From this gap, bacteria can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart’s arteries. If the bacteria in your heart’s arteries harden, it can cause a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes plaque to grow on the inner walls of your heart’s arteries, which can restrict blood flow throughout the body. And restricted blood flow to and from your heart is the catalyst for heart disease.
Bleeding gums and Endocarditis
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to a gum infection. Infected gums can be red, sensitive, and may bleed during brushing and/or flossing.
This type of bleeding could trigger a rare but serious heart condition called endocarditis. Endocarditis develops when bacteria from infected gums spreads to the inner lining of the heart. Bacterial growths in your heart’s inner lining can prevent your heart’s valves from working properly, which can put you at a heightened risk of heart attack.
Brush Well to Help Protect Your Heart
Along with practicing a good oral hygiene regiment at home, you can reduce your risk of periodontal disease and endocarditis by getting regular checkups with your dentist. They can take care of your mouth – and your overall health – by treating your cavities or inflammation of your gums.
Dental insurance can help make annual checkups, cleanings and procedures more affordable for you and your family. Don’t let untreated dental issues turn into heart disease!
ASBA can help you keep your mouth – and your heart – healthy with a Dental Plan that covers everything from routine check-ups to fillings and many procedures, all at a great low-cost group rate. Learn More.