Written By Loren Tormey / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
As you may already know, February is American Heart Month - a month dedicated to spreading awareness of heart disease prevention. When we think about heart disease, most of us likely think about prevention through tools like exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet consisting of mostly whole foods. While those tried and true methods will always be best practice, many do not realize the impact oral care has on the heart.
From a young age, we’ve been taught that regular brushing and flossing helps combat plaque buildup on our teeth, and in turn, prevents the development of gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. But, did you know that plaque buildup in your mouth has a direct impact on your cardiovascular system as well?
Plaque and the bacteria associated with it aren't just isolated in your mouth - they can travel through your blood vessels and cause heart disease, blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. Further, there have also been studied correlations between poor oral health, weakened immune systems, and neurological diseases.
If you’re scrambling to think of the last time you flossed your teeth or made a dentist appointment, you’re not alone. In a 2017 survey of 1,005 adults, only 16 percent said they floss daily. Chances are, you fall into the same category as 20 percent of the study participants who only floss when they need to - for example, when food gets noticeably stuck between teeth.
Good oral health starts with your daily routine. Take a moment to think about the things you currently do every day to take care of your teeth. Do you brush at least twice a day? Do you take the time to floss regularly? When was the last time you had a professional cleaning and check-up at your dentist’s office? Are you brushing your teeth for at least two minutes each time?
Start by analyzing what you currently do and take note of the areas you are lacking. From brushing and flossing, to a clean and balanced diet, there are several things you can do to improve your oral (and heart) health. Read the list below for helpful tips to get started!
Gradually add flossing to your routine
If you’re someone who rarely ever flosses, it is best to gradually ease into it as you may experience some gum irritation and bleeding. Start by setting a reminder on your phone to floss once per week. After a month, up your flossing sessions to twice a week. The following month, add another day. Continue the pattern until you’re flossing daily. If you have trouble sticking with a flossing routine, here are a few brushing and flossing methods to help you stay on track.
Change your diet and bad habits
Adjusting your diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself in terms of disease prevention and increasing the overall quality of your life. No matter what area of your personal health you are concerned about, a clean and balanced diet full of whole foods is always the best place to start.
As an additional general rule of thumb, fried and processed foods should be eaten in significant moderation, along with sodas, juices, and alcohol. Instead, put your dietary focus on vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and lean protein.
It is important to note that increased consumption of carbohydrates and added sugars are a huge culprit when it comes to the development and buildup of plaque. While added and artificial sugars can be avoided, carbohydrates cannot. Humans would not be able to survive without carbs despite what many fad diets have led us to believe. This is where the importance of brushing and flossing comes in.
Along with the overconsumption of sugars and processed foods, pay close attention to any other bad habits you may have formed over the years. Smoking in particular can be seriously detrimental as it is often the common factor that links together those with both oral and heart health issues.
Add vitamins to your diet
Though you should always strive to get your nutrients from a whole food diet, vitamins are a great way to supplement your diet and provide support for individualized body functions. There are several supplements that encourage a healthy oral microbiome, including:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
It is important to reiterate that vitamins should not replace a healthy diet. Unfortunately, you can’t cancel out excessive sugar and processed food intake with a slew of supplements. Vitamins work best when coupled with the healthy eating habits mentioned above. Once you’ve got your diet plan in place and are ready to add supplements, make it easier on yourself by ordering vitamins online for same-day delivery.
The supplement aisle at your local grocery store can be a doozy - there are always so many different options to choose from and it isn’t uncommon to impulse buy vitamins you don’t actually need. Too many unnecessary vitamins can actually do more harm than good. As always, do your research and consult your doctor and dentist before starting a supplement regimen.
Make Yearly Dentist Appointments
While it is completely normal to dread going to the dentist, it is not okay to let those fears hold you back from regularly scheduled cleanings and screenings. Not only does a professional dental cleaning help remove deep plaque buildup that is hard to get rid of with a toothbrush, but these appointments also ensure that you are regularly getting screened for a multitude of oral issues including but not limited to tooth decay, cavities, oral cancer, gingivitis, and gum disease.
As important as it is to schedule these appointments and follow through with them, it is equally important that you are honest with your dentist about your current oral-care routine. Being truthful with your dental hygienist will open the door to deeper conversations that will only help increase your overall health.
Invest in high-quality products
In addition to the above solutions, it is also smart to invest in high-quality oral care products. There are several options on the market, but be sure to do your research before making a purchase. Surprisingly, many of the popular name brand toothpaste options are full of chemicals. Some even contain sugar!
Heart disease has historically been one of the most common health issues in our country, and our oral health plays a large role in that. Not only will extra time, care, and attention to your teeth prevent cavities and gum disease, it will also increase the health and longevity of your cardiovascular system as well!
Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Loren Tormey is a community manager and business development writer. When she isn’t sharing her tips and resources with readers, she enjoys hiking and the comfort of a good book.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.