Tips for Healthy Teeth and Hearts – For Life (Now and into your Golden Years!)
It is not a secret that we need to develop healthy oral hygiene habits early on, but as we age we may experience some challenges that can effect our oral health and, ultimately, our overall health. After years of chewing, and wear and tear on our teeth, we become more susceptible to dry mouth, decay and gum disease. The spread of bacteria and other germs is what makes poor oral health a contributing factor to heart problems. Following are some tips on achieving and maintaining good oral health during the senior years:
- Regular brushing and flossing – use a soft bristled toothbrush at least twice a day and floss between teeth at least once a day to remove plaque buildup.
- Denture cleaning – denture wearers should use cleaning products made specifically for dentures daily. Dentures should also be taken out at least four hours a day to maintain healthy gums.
- Dental visits – regular dental checkups allow the dentist to monitor and recognize early signs of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Eat a healthy diet – this includes fresh fruits and vegetables and remember to curb sweets and sugary drinks.
- Avoid smoking – this habit causes teeth to yellow and is known to increase the risk of heart disease.
The Link Between Oral and Heart Health
A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that poor oral health can result in infective endocarditits, which is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. This happens when germs and bacteria from the mouth spread through the bloodstream and attach themselves to damaged areas of the heart.
Additionally, a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) mentioned that the link between inflammations caused by oral bacteria and atherosclerosis or clogged arteries may lead to stroke.
A Lifetime of Good Oral Habits
At C R Dental Group, Dr.’s James Reisman and Jordana Contrucci encourage patients of every age to take control of their oral health. The earlier good habits are started, the better long-term results are. It’s important to maintain regular dental visits throughout your lifetime to keep your mouth, teeth and body in optimal health.