Heart Healthy Dentistry
Care for Your Heart – Start with Your Gums!
Your Gum’s May Be (Literally) Killing You
Scientists have discovered new evidence that connects a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes with periodontal gum disease, a chronic dental condition. Because we care for our patients, we do not take this news lightly.
Hebert Dental offers a new screening method to determine if your gums may be injuring your whole body’s health. As, part of our Healthy Heart Program, we are among a select group of dentists who offer this special exam for gum disease symptoms. It takes approximately 15 minutes, is completely painless, and could improve your overall well-being to avoid gum disease and heart disease.
Because of the potential serious nature of gum disease, your exam results will be forwarded to your physician. It will include a request to do two blood tests that can evaluate for the risk of the disease affecting your health.
Am I at Risk?
Gum disease is usually painless in the early stage. You may not feel it until it has reached an advanced stage. However, these are some signs that a person may have gum disease:
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing your teeth
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath that does not go away
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way the teeth fit together when the person bites
- A change in the fit of a partial set of false teeth
As treatment protocols have been updated recently, a screening is recommended for even those who previously had “gum disease” treatment.
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
Brushing and flossing the teeth helps remove plaque. In the early stage of gum disease, brushing twice a day and flossing every day usually will cure the problem. Guidelines include:
- Using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Picking a brush that feels comfortable and will reach all the teeth, even those in back.
- Replacing the brush when the bristles show signs of wear.
- Brushing with a short, gentle, back-and-forth motion.
- Remembering to brush the inside surfaces, the back teeth, and the tongue.
- Flossing to reach plaque between the teeth and under the gum line where a brush cannot go.
It also is important to see a dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings for healthy gums and healthy heart.