February is probably best known for Valentines Day, the most romantic holiday of the year. While, roses & chocolates or a romantic dinner might be top of mind, did you know that February is also American Heart Month?
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States, killing over 375,000 people a year. In addition, heart disease is the number 1 killer of women; taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. That’s why it is so important for everyone to stop and take a moment to learn what contributes to heart disease, potential warning signs and what measures we can do to prevent it so you can be around for many more Valentine’s Day to come.
While regular exercise and a balanced diet can help decrease chances of heart disease, one thing you probably don’t realize is the importance of a healthy mouth. Yes you heard right, there is a connection between heart disease and a healthy mouth. Recent studies have shown that people with gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums. In addition, it has been shown that oral heath, or lack thereof, can provide warning signs for other diseases or conditions.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, people with chronic gum disease, caused by plaque buildup along and below the gum line, are at higher risk for heart attack. Some researchers have suggested that gum disease may contribute to heart disease because bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, entering the bloodstream and attach to blood vessels, thus increasing the possibility of a clot formation. While, any direct correlation between the two has yet to be proven, it is still important to maintain a healthy mouth.
So instead of flowers, chocolates and a romantic dinner this Valentine’s Day, why not give floss, a new toothbrush or mouth wash. Yes, it may be a little unconventional, but remember a healthy mouth can mean a healthy heart.