Cardiovascular diseases are a set of diseases that severely affect the heart, blood vessels, and veins of the human body. They are a common cause of death among people across the world. Cardiovascular diseases are also linked with dental diseases as bacterial growth can affect the blood vessels and the body’s response to such microbes can cause inflammation in them.
Preventive dentistry refers to the regular dental care and procedures that help in the prevention of various disorders and diseases like cardiovascular diseases. The link between heart diseases and dental health is very hard to determine and many studies are being conducted. From the various studies and research, it is observed that dental diseases like gum diseases or periodontitis are linked to an increase in the risk of many cardiovascular diseases like heart attack. Poor oral health can also cause bacterial infestation which eventually enters the bloodstream and affects the blood vessels. Coronary artery diseases can also develop due to poor oral health.
Maintaining oral health is never a guaranteed way of preventing cardiovascular diseases as these diseases are broad spectrum and many factors contribute to their development apart from dental health. But it is definitely one way to ensure that something as simple as regular dental care doesn’t become a reason for the development of such a severe disease.
Preventive dental care helps with cardiovascular diseases in the following ways:
1. Dental visits
It is advised that everyone, whether a cardiac patient or not, visit the dentist twice every year. Or at least once, at the very least. Regular dental check-ups like these ensure that any tooth-related disorder or diseases are not developing in the teeth and rest of the body is also not being affected. Early detection can often help avoid many severe diseases that can risk the patient’s life.
General dental visits involve teeth cleaning, physical examination, addressing any concerns of the patient, and recommendation of products that can help the patient manage dental health in the best possible way. The patient can always ask the dentist for advice on the prevention of cardiovascular as well as other diseases that are linked to dental health and diseases.
2. Dental cleaning
Dental cleaning is a procedure that involves deep cleaning of the teeth with the help of specialized dental equipment. Dental cleaning helps in cleaning of debris and tartar accumulation.
The procedure involves checking teeth for any underlying diseases like periodontitis, gingivitis, etc. Then, the dentist will scrape any gum and tartar build-up using a dental scaler. A high-power electric toothbrush is also used for tartar removal. Then, the teeth are flossed. The procedure is called expert flossing since the dentist will reach every potential area of the mouth for bacterial growth, something which is not possible in regular dental flossing. The mouth is then rinsed and a fluoride paste or gel is applied to prevent dental diseases.
Dental cleaning ensures diseases like periodontitis, etc. remain at bay. Such diseases can act as a secondary reason for cardiovascular diseases so preventing them also contributes in the prevention of cardiovascular ones.
3. Balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet also comes under preventive dentistry as proper nutrition is required by the teeth containers to structure and strengthen the teeth. Also, eating a balanced diet can help in preventing cardiovascular diseases as avoiding certain foods can greatly reduce the risk of clotting, increased blood pressure, etc.
The first step of eating a balanced diet involves limiting sugar intake. Sugar can be replaced with simple carbohydrates like simple whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc. Certain vitamins like vitamin C can be obtained from various vegetables. It helps in fighting various dental diseases such as cavities.
4. Drink enough water
Water is not only a great way to maintain oral health but it is also a great way to maintain overall health, covering cardiovascular diseases. Fluoridated drinking water can help strengthen the teeth. It also increases the body’s ability to fight various dental as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Drinking water after meals also cleanses off any leftover residues of food particles over teeth. Substitution of various soft drinks also helps in preventing dental and other diseases. Since these soft drinks contain a high quantity of sugar, they can easily make the consumer obese, and therefore vulnerable to cardiovascular and other diseases. When these drinks are replaced with water, the patient will observe a decrease in calorie count and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as cavities, etc.
5. Dietary fibre
Eating fresh and crunchy food items like raw vegetables, etc. can help both oral as well as cardiovascular health.
Dietary fibre helps in maintaining dental health greatly. The crunchy products ensure that the patient properly chews the food and does not digest it without properly breaking it down. Chewing food sufficiently ensures that the teeth become strong and strengthens them.
Dietary fibre consumption reduces blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels. These two are the greatest contributor in heart diseases. Controlling their level of production in the body also helps in the maintenance and prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
6. Periodontal therapy
Periodontal therapy is a preventive non-surgical procedure performed for maintaining and controlling periodontal diseases. It also helps restore gum health which ensures that tooth loss is prevented. This in turn leads to better overall health including cardiovascular health.
The procedure involves a thorough physical examination of teeth to detect periodontal disease. A periodontal probe is used to detect any detachment from gum roots. The teeth are then thoroughly cleaned from any debris, tartar and plaque build-up etc.
Scaling or deep cleaning is also performed to get rid of plaque and debris. Dental tools like hand tools and ultrasonic cleaners are used for scaling and cleaning. Then root planing is performed to smoothen rough surfaces and ensure that the gum surface re-attaches to a smooth plane. This procedure takes on two clinic visits to complete. Since periodontitis is a dental disease that is highly linked to cardiovascular diseases, it is important to treat it as soon as possible.