Posted on: 14 December 2021Share
While many people know that not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, and consuming a healthy diet may help lower the risk for heart attack and stroke, they may not know that general dental care may also reduce the risk. Here are some general dentistry interventions that may help lower your risk for a cardiovascular event and stroke.
Professional Scaling Treatments
Getting your teeth professionally cleaned a couple of times a year may reduce your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. A deep cleaning procedure, also known as tooth scaling, involves scraping off hardened plaque, or dental calculus, from the surface of your teeth and inside of the pockets of your gum line.
Plaque and dental calculus harbor infection-causing bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. Because gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are typically caused by a bacterial infection, it is thought that they may heighten the risk for hearts attacks and strokes as a result of triggering an inflammatory response in the blood vessels. It is also thought that people who seek regular dental cleanings may also make healthier lifestyle choices that may further reduce their risks for heart disease and strokes.
Dental Decay Treatment
When oral bacteria feed on sugars and starches in your foods and drinks, dental decay may develop if good oral hygiene practices are not followed. If dental decay is not treated, the bacteria from the cavities can migrate to the heart valves, increasing the risk for a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, dentists recommend that people who have preexisting valve disease take a course of antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures to prevent oral bacteria from spreading to the heart valves.
Your dentist will remove the infected carious material from your tooth and fill it with composite resin to restore the tooth and prevent the spread of bacteria-causing material into your bloodstream. If you have conditions such as valve stenosis where your heart valves do not open enough to allow your blood to flow through, or a condition known as valve regurgitation, where the valves do not close all the way, causing a backward flow of blood, let your dentist know.
If you are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke, be sure to maintain good oral hygiene and see your dentist on a regular basis for deep cleanings and routine examinations. Not only will a healthy mouth lower your risk for gum disease and cavities, but it may also keep both your cardiovascular and neurological systems healthy. For more information about general dental care, contact a dentist near you.