Why does Delta Dental of Colorado want you to know about American Heart Month? Well, the connection between our hearts and our mouths is a strong one, but many people don’t realize the impact their oral health can have on their overall health. That’s why we’re celebrating American Heart Month in February: to bring awareness of that important connection between oral and overall health to all Coloradans.
The Oral Health and Heart Connection
Research has shown that the health of our mouths directly impacts the health of the rest of our body. If we neglect our oral health, we’re at risk not only for gum disease but also for heart disease. But how does the mouth impact the heart?
When plaque is not removed regularly through brushing and flossing, it irritates our gums and can cause gingivitis (inflammation of the gums that can lead to periodontitis or gum disease). Gum disease, like many diseases, causes inflammation. Inflammation in the mouth is considered a potential cause for inflammation elsewhere. Studies show that people with gum disease are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or another cardiovascular event.
While exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, you can also fight off heart disease and maintain your overall health by maintaining good daily oral health habits. Research indicates that people who said they brushed less than twice a day had three times the risk for heart disease compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes. A healthy mouth and smile can keep your heart strong.
National Wear Red Day® and Heart Health Awareness
Celebrate American Heart Month with National Wear Red Day, which takes place on Friday, February 7. The American Heart Association says this is a day when “the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. This annual groundswell unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke.”
Take a step in a healthier direction this month and schedule a dentist visit if you’re overdue. And check out our website to learn stories that highlight the connection between oral and overall health, specifically Keyshore Nayak’s retelling of how his dentist potentially saved his life by referring him to immediately see a cardiologist.
“It was surprising to hear a dentist talking about my heart,” Nayak said. “Since I had persistent problems with my gums, he said there was a good chance I had plaque buildup in my arteries. And that could be deadly.” Watch more of Kishore Nayak’s story here.
National Donor Day and Oral Health Awareness
February 14isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also National Donor Day. Learn what Donor Day means to the brother of a heart transplant recipient from a DDCO team member. Then click here to learn more about how your dental health influences your ability to donate and receive organs.