improving your dental hygiene

Every year, billions of dollars are spent on finding new ways to prevent heart attacks, strokes and other health problems. However, some of the simplest, most powerful preventive measures are often overlooked. For example, something as simple as keeping your mouth clean can affect your health significantly. Our Glendale cosmetic dental office, Desert Smiles Cosmetic & Sedation Dentistry, provides life-changing smiles for many patients, but every day we can also provide tremendous heart health benefits to our Phoenix and Peoria dental patients simply by improving their dental hygiene.

bacteria and heart health

The human body has trillions of bacteria that grow in our mouth, digestive system, skin and sinuses. Under normal circumstances, most of these bacteria are “friendly bugs” that actually help the body get rid of toxins, fight disease, digest food, and even absorb and produce certain vitamins like vitamin K.

Over time, our diets have been shifting from a more natural, unprocessed diet to one high in processed grains and refined sugars. As a result, the bacterial population in our mouths has also changed, and led to the rise of more harmful species of bacteria and generally higher bacterial population in our mouths. These harmful bacteria then can enter the blood stream when we chew or brush and release toxins that trigger the pathways of inflammation and plaque buildup in the arteries.

dental hygiene saves lives

In 1998, a study of U.S. veterans found that dental disease was a greater risk factor for heart disease than being overweight, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking. Think of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on cholesterol medications, blood thinners, and other medications of marginal benefit in treating heart disease. With proper dental hygiene, including professional teeth cleaning at Desert Smiles in Glendale, you can take an active role in preventing heart disease.

A survey of oral hygiene habits in households Scotland studied the link between frequency of tooth brushing and cardiovascular events, such as angina, heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.  A total of 11,869 participants were enrolled and were followed for a little more than eight years – a large study by any measure and therefore more likely to yield reliable results.

Participants who brushed their teeth once a day had a 40% greater risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event than those who brushed their teeth twice a day! These participants who brushed more often had lower levels of the inflammatory markers C-Reactive Protein and fibrinogen, which are known to contribute to heart problems.

In comparison, use of statin drugs to bring down cholesterol and therefore cardiovascular events in patients who had never had a heart attack has been shown to decrease overall death rates in only one study, while other studies have shown no benefits. To put it simply, changing your brushing habits from once to twice a day may decrease your risk of heart attacks almost twice as much as taking a cholesterol-lowering drug will. Tooth brushing may actually save your life.

oral cancer screening & sleep apnea treatment for your health

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is one of the many simple lifestyle choices one can make to hugely enhance health. Our hygienists will also do an oral cancer screening.  In the US, one person dies from oral cancer every hour.  Once diagnosed, oral cancers have a 52% survival rate after five years, but with early detection, survival rates improve to 80%.  Waiting for a problem to develop is dangerous, expensive and may shorten your life or the quality of life you have left.

Most people know that high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major contributor to cardiovascular events.  What most people don’t know is that Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been definitively linked to hypertension and sleep apnea treatment has been proven to lower blood pressure. If you suffer from sleep apnea, we can help you treat it with our Oral Appliance Therapy for sleep apnea and with appliances like the Somnomed.

Make the right decision for your health.  Keep your gums healthy and visit your dentist regularly.  It can literally be a matter of life and death.  Be Heart Healthy!

To learn more about how our Phoenix dentist Dr. Nathan Tenney can help you stay heart healthy, please contact him at Desert Smiles Cosmetic & Sedation Dentistry serving Glendale, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.

treat your smile to the love it deserves

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