Heart Health Starts in your Mouth?

You try to eat healthy, regularly go to the gym and get your Zzz’s.  You are dedicated to your routine which you believe will lead to a great heart checkup at your next physical. Right?

Maybe or maybe not…

Research now shows that half of all Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal or gum disease (tender or bleeding gums, bad breath, receding gums, etc. which is caused by bacterial plaque.) To avoid plaque, consistent flossing and brushing is not only an essential part of your daily routine, but can decrease inflammation in all parts of your body… including your heart.

Your mouth can potentially hold the key to what is going on in your heart.

Daily brushing of your teeth can significantly decrease bacterial load in your body, including your heart. Dentistry and diet work in symphony. If you visit the dentist regularly, brush and floss, the next thing to look at is your diet. We know that sugar is not optimal for our teeth, and lemon is bad for the enamel but what about other lifestyle factors that impact dental health?

Learning about and understanding your blood work (including a fasting cholesterol panel, glucose level, and other parameters) is a good start. These measures should be checked at least 1-2x/year to see if there is trend over time so that you can change possible problems.

Sleep is key to making sure all your hormones are in balance (especially the ones that regulate hunger).  Strive for at least 7 hours per night.

Eat plenty of raw veggies, especially celery and cucumbers which contain a higher water content and can act like nature’s toothbrushes.

Eat whole foods that are nutrient dense – grass-fed meat, fish, plain yogurt, hard cheese, eggs, green veggies, etc. that give you nutrients for your teeth.

Drink green tea which contains antioxidants to decrease inflammation and can inhibit the growth of cavity causing bacteria.

Overwhelming?  Pick one thing to focus on and start slowly. Build an attainable foundation and add reasonable changes which make sense to your situation.

Your next heart check starts in your mouth – whether it is what you eat or how you care for your teeth.