American Heart Month

Every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack or stroke. February is American Heart Month a month where we recognize a top silent killer of Americans - Heart Disease. Over the past several months many have engaged in poor lifestyle habits, this includes not exercising the recommended amount, missing doctors visits, not incorporating healthy dietary habits into meals and instead substituting processed sugary foods into diets, and/or increasing alcohol or tobacco use. These are all lifestyle habits that contribute to heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart attack symptoms include but are not limited to chest discomfort, discomfort in the upper body, shortness of breath, sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness. The AHA also stated symptoms of stroke are face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty. In times of a medical emergency it is important to identify symptoms fast and immediately call 9-1-1.

The direct link between poor oral health that results in periodontitis, and cardiovascular disease has been studied for years and has yet to be determined. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease.

After being diagnosed with periodontal disease the initial treatment is by scaling
and root planing, this involves anesthetizing the gums and cleaning deeply below the gum line to remove calculus and bacteria that is causing bone loss. It is important to maintain close follow up with your dentist every three to four months after this treatment as well as improving home care with daily brushing, flossing and use of a water flosser.

Prevention is key and before oral health declines it is important to schedule your biannual hygiene and exam visit with your dentist.

Resources:
1. https://www.heart.org/en/about-us-shared/heart-attack-and-stroke-symptoms
2. https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-heart-disease

Author
Dr. Leelah Jaberi, DDS

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