Dental Health Info Article

Women, Prevent Heart Disease with Dental Care:

February is a month typically associated affairs of the heart courtesy of Valentine's Day. The time period has also been declared American Heart Month in order to bring attention to heart disease, the largest cause of death in the nation. Heart disease has long been associated as a primary cause of death for men, but the reality is the condition is also the largest killer of American women. The "fairer sex" can implement a strategic approach to dental care in order to lower their odds of becoming a statistics.

For decades the erroneous belief that men were the only victims of the condition ruled the roost. Over time, more research was funneled directly towards the impact the condition had on women and "...according to the Women's Heart Foundation, when adjusted for age and other factors, the mortality risk from cardiovascular illness is 1.7 times higher in women as compared to men" ( Now, there are no denying the facts that heart disease is the number one lady killer and that strokes (a condition triggered by a sudden oxygen shortage and decline in the delivery of nutrients to  the brain) is the fourth leading cause of death for American women. Fortunately there are some strategies ladies can implement to lower their odds of becoming a statistics.

Dental Care a Must

Dental care is the basic act for taking care of teeth. Over time the process has evolved from primitive man using twigs and quills to pick their teeth to the contemporary oral hygiene recommendation of brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes per session with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing teeth once a day to remove dental plaque (communities of oral bacteria associated with causing dental problems including tooth decay, cavities and gum disease). Women who make sure to implement the oral care strategy also lower their risk for developing heart disease.

Research published in the journal Health Economics (January 29, 2010) has indicated that women who implement oral care can lower their odds having a heart attack, strokes and other  cardiovascular issues by one-third. The findings revealed that men do not benefit at the same level as the women analyzed for the relationship between dental care and heart disease. Researchers hypothesize that the differences between how the genders develop cardiovascular disease is the cause for the discrepancies.

The study focused 7,000 group participants aged 44-88 and enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study. The findings found that women can use dental care to stave off heart problems until menopause hits, at that time the change of life is a great equalizer where both men and women were at an equal risk for heart disease regardless of dental care.

The Mouth and the Heart

Every portion of the human body is intertwined and the connection between the mouth and the heart is no different. Despite industry standards that separate dental insurance from health expenses, the oral cavity is an intricate system that if out of whack, can negatively impact the entire body. The cause of the imbalance is linked to a higher than average level of oral bacteria in the mouth and those microscopic critters can influence heart health.

Oral bacteria are naturally occurring organisms that are in the human mouth and they have the important job of digesting simple sugars and food particles deposited on teeth after eating. If however, the bacterium is left intact, they could band together and create a "sticky film" called dental plaque, which 1-800-DENTIST defines as being a community of oral bacteria.

When plaque is left in place, the bacteria will release an excess of tooth-eroding acids as a byproduct of their work. According to research entitled "Periodontal Microbiota and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness" (Moise Desvarieux, et. al) there is a direct correlation between dental plaque, tooth decay and heart disease. "Blood flow through the arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle slows," causing heart attacks. The specific bacterium that creates this arterial plaque has a link to tooth decay causing bacteria.

Preventative Dental Care Can Help

Other research published in the British Medical Journal has also proved the relationship between frequency of tooth brushing, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory markers in blood. Lack of brushing can increase the chance of developing periodontal disease, which in turn has been associated with a 19 percent chance increase of developing heart disease and arterial plaque is thought to be the cause.

Scientists in this study analyzed 12,000 Scottish citizens who admitted to how often they brushed their teeth in relationship to their health over an eight-year period.  Those who fessed up to rarely or never brushing their teeth had a 70 percent increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or other heart issue in comparison to individuals who brushed twice a day, regardless of gender.

Women looking to avoid becoming a statistic should follow the sage advice provided by 1-800-DENTIST;  eat a healthy diet and exercise, brush twice a day, floss once a day and get regular dental exams and cleanings every six months. Frequent checkups can provide dental care practitioners to remove dental plaque that has hardened into dental tartar as well as deliver the proper dental treatments that can prevent both dental and heart health issues. By dedicating efforts to remove dental plaque daily and backing the move with professional dental care, women will help gain the advantage needed to combat heart disease. Consumers looking to find a dentist can count on 1-800-DENTIST to make it so.