Posts for tag: heart disease
Aside from the previously mentioned preventative actions that you can take to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (stop smoking, exercise more, improve your cholesterol levels, manage blood pressure and diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, eat a heart-healthy diet, and schedule biannual dental cleanings), there are actually a great number of unexpected ways in which you can significantly reduce your risk. Here are some of those ways.
- Indulge in dark chocolate. Chocolate contains flavonoids, which can help arteries stay more flexible and open. It is also believed that other properties in dark chocolate can help prevent clotting and the bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and turning into plague. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium, as well.
- Eat more legumes. Legumes like beans, lentils, and peas are great plant-based sources of protein that don’t contain a lot of unhealthy fat. Consuming legumes as a primary source of protein instead of animal protein lowers your risk of heart disease by up to 22% according to one study. They can also help control blood sugar.
- Enjoy a fish dish. Eating grilled, sautéed, baked, or roasted fish (sustainably sourced and NOT farm raised) once a week can help reduce your risk of a heart attack by 33%. Fish tacos on Tuesday anyone?
- Listen to classical music. A study from the University of Oxford found that listening to classical music can help lower blood pressure and slow down your heart beat. The study concluded that it didn’t matter what type of music the listener normally prefers, the affects were the same across the board for all different tastes.
- Drink a beer. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry discovered that those who drank one beer a day for a month lowered their cholesterol levels, increased their blood levels of heart-healthy antioxidants, and reduced their levels of a blood clot causing protein.
- Spice it up. Cardamom, thyme, cayenne, rosemary, coriander, basil, and cumin all have heart health benefits, as well as whole body benefits. Spicing up your meals is a delicious and easy way to protect and support your heart and other bodily systems.
- Incorporate ginger and turmeric into your life. Both ginger and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. You can cook with these roots or make a hot tea with them. Inflammation is a major contributor to heart disease and other chronic aliments.
- Take a B-vitamin complex every morning. Taking a B-vitamin complex can help make your blood vessels open wider. It can also reduce your levels of homocysteine, which is a substance linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Go on a 20-minute bicycle ride every day. Sounds pretty simple, right? This heart healthy exercise can also boost your mood too. The more sedentary your life is, the higher your chances of developing cardiovascular problems is, as well as other health-related issues.
- Adopt a dog. The benefits of having a loyal furry friend are endless! Owning a dog is likely to make you more active and the unconditional love and companionship that you will receive has been scientifically linked to a reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
- Go to bed earlier. Regularly sleeping less than seven hours a night can increase your chances of a heart attack, as well as contribute to higher levels of stress and blood pressure. The magic number seems to be eight hours.
Your mouth is a window into what’s going on in your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 90% of systemic diseases show signs and symptoms inside of your mouth. A lot of diseases and conditions can also be tested for from your salvia, such as osteoporosis and certain types of cancer. Along with being a window into your overall health, the health of your teeth, gums, and oral cavity can greatly contribute to the health of the rest of your body.
Did you know that at any given moment there can be up to 500 different types of bacteria in your mouth? This is why it is so important that you brush and floss after each meal and come and visit us twice a year for a professional cleaning and exam. When the bacteria in your mouth gets out of control from lack of proper hygiene, plague builds up and the road to periodontal disease begins.
Numerous studies have taken place in recent years to examine the link between oral health and other deadly maladies such as cardiovascular disease. While the research is still on going, there appears to be a very strong link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Oral inflammation caused by the build-up of plague may contribute to clogged arteries and blood clots elsewhere. Inflammation in your mouth may also cause inflammation in other parts of your body. And remember, inflammation is the root of most chronic diseases.
While there are many different factors that play into why one develops heart disease, ranging from genetics to personal lifestyle choices, taking care of your oral health is an easy preventative measure. It is far easier to prevent periodontal disease and heart disease than it is to deal with advanced stages of it. Brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal, coming in for biannual cleanings and check-ups, and drinking more water and avoiding sugary drinks and foods can help reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, which includes a heart attack or stroke.
Did you know that studies have shown a relationship between gum disease and heart disease?
The common link is inflammation. This means that if you reduce inflammation caused by gum disease (periodontal disease), you also reduce your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The methods we stress for good dental hygiene — consistent effective brushing and flossing, regular professional cleanings by a hygienist, and dental treatment when needed — are also important for the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system (from cardio, meaning heart, and vascular, meaning blood vessels).
Here's how it works. Dental plaque is a film of bacteria that settles on your teeth near the gum line every day. When you brush and floss, you remove as much of this bacterial film, or biofilm, as you can. Bacteria that are not removed multiply and produce acid products that begin to dissolve the enamel of your teeth. They also irritate your gum tissues.
Your immune system tries to remove the bacteria and their byproducts through inflammation, your body's way of attacking substances that shouldn't be there (such as bacteria). However, long-term inflammation can be harmful to your own tissues as well. Inflammation in your gums, a symptom of periodontal disease, can destroy gum tissue, bone and the ligaments that hold your teeth in place.
Ongoing inflammation can also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Bacterial byproducts of periodontal inflammation have been shown to cause the liver to manufacture a protein called CRP (C-reactive protein) that spreads the inflammation to the arteries, where it promotes formation of blood clots.
Of course, other factors are also related to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease. These include smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity. Family history and depression can also influence gum disease and heart disease.
Diet is another factor. You have probably heard of “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL). The bad one, low-density lipoprotein or LDL, is found in animal fats. It can cause an accumulation of fat breakdown products (also called plaque, but a different substance from dental plaque) inside your arteries. The arteries become narrow, so that they can be easily blocked, resulting in heart attacks and strokes. Studies have shown that inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels accelerates this effect.
If tests show that you have high levels of LDL, your doctor may advise you to modify your diet and take specific medication to reduce arterial plaque. You will also be advised to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk factors. Lowering your weight, getting more exercise, and stopping smoking can have a positive effect on your heart health — and so can improving your dental hygiene to combat periodontal disease.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about the relationship between gum disease and heart disease. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Link Between Heart & Gum Diseases.”
Recent research has revealed that there is a link between cardiovascular (“cardio” – heart; “vascular” – blood vessel) disease (CVD) and periodontal (gum) disease. The link is Inflammation. This is why it is important to learn more about this important relationship so that you can take proactive steps to improving your health and life.
What causes periodontal disease?
Simply put, irregular and ineffective brushing and flossing are the root causes of periodontal disease. Over time and when bacterial biofilms (dental plaque) are left unchecked, they lead to the emergence of a small set of highly pathogenic (“patho” – disease; “genic” – causing) organisms that are consistently associated with periodontitis (“peri” – gum; “odont” – tooth; “itis” – inflammation) or gum disease.
Is periodontal disease common or am I one of the few who have it?
It is a quite common disease, with mild to moderate forms of it impacting 30 to 50% of US adults. More severe cases affect 5 to 15%. One of the reasons these numbers are so high is because periodontal disease is a silent, painless disease that often occurs without any symptoms.
So how does my gum disease link to potential heart disease?
Inflammation is a characteristic of chronic disease. People with moderate to severe periodontitis have increased levels of systemic (general body) inflammation. If left untreated, the same bacterial strains that are commonly found in periodontal pockets surrounding diseased teeth have been found in blood vessel plaques of people with CVD.
This all sounds bad...is there any good news?
Yes! Research has revealed that if periodontal disease is treated, inflammation and infection can be reduced. This also reduces the risk for heart attacks and strokes, both of which are common results of CVD. All it may take is a thorough exam for gum disease and thorough dental cleaning. During your exam, we can also make sure you are brushing and flossing properly so that you are effectively removing bacterial biofilm. But if you have severe periodontal disease, you may need deeper cleanings and more advanced treatment to save your teeth and your heart.
To learn more on this subject, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Link Between Heart & Gum Diseases.” You can also contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment.