The connection between heart disease and oral health

In an articles published February 20017 from Harvard Medical School they state:

Could the millions of bacteria in your mouth cause problems for your heart and blood vessels?  Could something as simple as brushing your teeth and having good oral hygiene prevent cardiovascular problems?

“The notion that problems in the mouth cause diseases elsewhere in the body makes sense but has been difficult to prove, explains the Harvard Heart Letter. Scientists are exploring several mechanisms that may connect the two processes. In people with periodontitis (erosion of tissue and bone that support the teeth), chewing and toothbrushing release bacteria into the bloodstream. Several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. This plaque can lead to heart attack.

Oral bacteria could also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins found in artery walls or the bloodstream. The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily. It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Although we sill have a lot to learn about whether, and how, periodontitis and other oral problems are linked to heart disease, the Harvard Heart Letter notes that it still makes good sense to take care of your teeth. Brush and floss every day, and see your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and oral exams. This will pay off for your oral health and just may benefit your heart as well.”

Dr. Jessica and Dr. Stevenson would be happy to answer any questions you may have about your daily oral hygiene routine or if you would like to schedule a cleaning. 

3 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

Smith & Jackson hopes you’re surviving cold and flu season, but if you’re not, here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:

Practice Good Hygiene

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. You shouldn’t be sharing your toothbrush in normal circumstances but especially when you are sick. We highly recommend replacing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick even though the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3-4 months even when you are not sick.

Swish and Spit After Vomiting

One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but it is better to wait. When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them, if you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.

Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.

Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth

When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on cough drops, or throat lozenges to keep saliva flowing.

Stay healthy!

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Globally there are more than 300,000 new cases of mouth cancer every year. The number of people being diagnosed with mouth cancer has grown nearly a third in the last decade.

Although risk factors (such as smoking and alcohol) are responsible for many mouth cancers, it is a disease that can affect anyone.

That is why it is so important we all know what to look out for.
Don’t leave a mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks.
Don’t ignore any unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.
Regularly check your own mouth, lips, cheeks, head and neck for anything out of the ordinary.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate. Book an appointment with Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Jessica today. Quick action is very often life-saving.

 

What is Orofacial Pain?

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Orofacial pain includes a number of clinical problems involving the chewing (masticatory) muscles or temporomandibular joint. Problems can include temporomandibular joint discomfort; muscle spasms in the head, neck and jaw; migraines, cluster or frequent headaches; or pain with the teeth, face or jaw.

You swallow approximately 2,000 times per day, which causes the upper and lower teeth to come together and push against the skull. People who have an unstable bite, missing teeth or poorly aligned teeth can have trouble because the muscles work harder to bring the teeth together, causing strain. Pain also can be caused by clenching or grinding teeth, trauma to the head and neck or poor ergonomics.

Some people may experience pain in the ears, eyes, sinuses, cheeks or side of the head. Others experience painful clicking when moving the jaw or even locking if the jaw is opened or closed.

If you are experiencing any of these types of pain, Dr Jessica and Dr Stevenson are happy to help.  Please call for an appointment today.

For more information click HERE or HERE.