Is dental health linked to heart health?

October is National Dental Hygiene month. Now and throughout the year, it’s a great time to remember to take great care of your smile. And at First Choice Dental, we agree with evidence that suggests dental health and heart health go hand in hand.

First Choice Dental Steps Up in Fight Against Heart Disease
This Saturday October 18, the Madison dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, office staff and family members of First Choice Dental will join thousands in walking the American Heart Walk here in Madison.
First Choice Dental is making strides in the fight against heart disease as sponsor of the Madison Heart Walk’s Mascot race. This event takes place at 8:45am on October 18, 2014, just before the official walk start at 9am. As part of our ongoing commitment to our patients’ and the community’s overall health, as well as dental health, First Choice Dental is proud to work with the American Heart Association to prevent, treat and fight heart disease and stroke, and to carry their mission back to our dental offices too.

Dr. David Gunderson, a dentist with First Choice Dental says, “Although there is no clear causal relationship between gum disease and heart disease, the two often go hand in hand. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis, or gum disease, which is an infection of the tissue surrounding the gums, caused by a constant build-up of plaque on the teeth.” He adds, “The two diseases share many risk factors including smoking, diabetes, unhealthy diet and obesity.”

Statistics show that 20 million Americans will see a dentist this year, but will not see a primary health care provider. A generally healthy person who may or may not see their doctor annually may actually spend more time – twice a year – with a dentist and hygienist, than with any other health care provider. This gives your dental team a unique opportunity to spot trends such as high blood pressure, discuss family history, or open a conversation about smoking or an unhealthy diet. Gunderson says, “If we see anything suspicious, we first and foremost provide the best and most appropriate dental care, and then strongly encourage them to talk about any identified health issues with a physician - or offer to call their doctor ourselves. To do anything less is a disservice to both the oral health and overall well-being of our patients.”

Join First Choice Dental mascot Pearl E. White, Bucky Badger, Maynard Mallard, DC Eagle of the Madison Capitols hockey team and other mascots and local superheroes at the Madison Heart Walk, this Saturday, October 18, at Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center. The day’s event begins at 8am with family activities, a local mascot race, Superhero photos and AHA Heart Hero recognition, and family fitness sessions. Opening ceremonies will begin soon after 9am.

If you haven’t created a Heart Walk team click here. Or learn more here.  For more information on managing your dental health as part of your overall health and wellness, visit our website.