World Health Day has already passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice healthy habits now to honor it. The theme of this year’s day was to spread awareness about high blood pressure. Recently, the Connecticut State Dental Association pointed out that one thing you can do to help control your blood pressure is visit a dental health professional.
According to a statement released by the CSDA, more dentists are identifying high blood pressure in their patients. The CSDA explained that while dentists don’t diagnose high blood pressure and other conditions related to heart disease, they do screen for them and other issues that can negatively impact the rest of the body.
“Many dentists have been successful in helping to identify high blood pressure, and will encourage the patient to seek their personal physician for further evaluation,” said Carolyn Malon, D.D.S., president of the CSDA. “High blood pressure may also cause a problem for a patient while undergoing dental care and has been shown to increase a patient’s risk of experiencing chest pains, heart attack or stroke.”
An important reminder
The CSDA has launched a campaign to encourage people to visit the dentist regularly not only to protect their teeth, but their overall health as well. Dr. Malon added that World Health Day should be a reminder that dental care is an important part of any health routine, and when you think of your healthcare team, a dentist should be an integral member.
Unfortunately, many people tend to view dental health as not being as important as caring for the rest of the body. However, you can exercise every day, eat nothing but healthy foods and visit the doctor regularly, but if you don’t take care of your teeth, you’ll still find yourself experiencing a number of health problems.
Good for the teeth, good for the heart
The Mayo Clinic explains that the mouth is filled with bacteria. While this may sound like a disgusting concept, it’s important to remember that some of those bacteria are good, and some of them are bad. It’s the job of good bacteria to fight off the bad kind, but they can’t do it alone. If you don’t brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily, then bad bacteria will grow and breed inside your mouth. Over time, the waste from the organisms will decay the teeth, then eventually make their way into the rest of your body, where they may wreak havoc on all of your other organs.
The organization states that studies have shown that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may all be associated with bacteria that came from the mouth. In particular, the bacteria that cause gum disease have been linked to a number of cardiovascular issues.
What should you do?
So what steps should you be taking to reduce your risk of high blood pressure? First, take care of your teeth. This means brushing twice a day, using mouthwash after meals, flossing at least once and visiting your dentist twice a year. Also, try to monitor your sodium intake. Consuming too much salt may lead to blood pressure issues. One good way to limit your salt intake is to make your own soups and salad dressings, since these two products tend to contain a great deal of sodium.
Finally, be sure to exercise regularly. Ask your dentist for more tips on how you can maintain a healthy smile and blood pressure levels.
What other ways do you think your smile is benefiting your health? Share with us in your comments below!