Experts say the earlier you schedule a dental appointment, the better you cut risk of heart disease

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Friday, February 23, 2024
Oral health linked to your heart function? Here's what experts say
Dr. Thomas Servos with UT Health says there is a link between poor dental health and an increased risk of heart disease, but here's how to combat it.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- February is "Heart Health" month, and we are discussing how to reduce your heart disease risks all this week.

You can start by scheduling your next dentist appointment since there is a link between poor oral health and an increased risk of heart disease, according to experts.

Dr. Thomas Servos with UT Health says it's important to note this is more than just about brushing and flossing your teeth.

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"People just kinda say they use mouthwash to keep their breath fresh, but mouthwash has an antimicrobial agent in it that kills the bacteria that cause bad breath, so that's a good thing to have with you."

Dr. Servos explained how we have lots of bacteria in our mouths, and if any oral infection, like a cavity, isn't treated and cleaned correctly, it could get into your bloodstream and reach your heart. That's why it's essential to do more than brush your teeth; brush your tongue, too.

"You can buy a tongue scraper, so you will do this a couple of times as well and then throw it away, but definitely get the bacteria off your tongue. It probably harbors the most bacteria in your mouth."

Be mindful of what you eat, too, Servos said, since things like crunchy vegetables are good for your heart and teeth.

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"I've had patients come in and say, 'I need to floss after lunch, but I can't. What can I do?' Crunchy vegetables take the slices of carrots, and you get the scrubbing motion, and it helps clean your teeth."

Dr. Servos also mentioned that having water is very important because the bacteria in your mouth give off acid, and the more water you drink, the more you dilute that acid, which will be better for your oral health overall.