Wear Red! Go Red for Women!

Wear Red!  Go Red for Women!

Have you seen these ads and wondered what wearing red is all about? February is a popular month to see hearts, and the color red, in general. No wonder the American Heart Association (AHA) designates this month for Heart Disease Awareness in women. Men are affected also, but women take the cake when it comes to deaths from heart disease.

Heart disease is the #1 killer in women. In fact, it is responsible for 1 in 3 deaths of women each year. That’s an astounding number considering breast cancer kills approximately 1 in 31 women each year. Are you aware of the warning signs, symptoms or risk factors that could affect you or a woman you may know?  www.goredforwomen.org is a great website to inform you of these, as well as ways to prevent or control this disease.

Why would a dental blog be discussing heart disease, you wonder? Many people are not aware that oral health, specifically having periodontal disease is a huge risk factor contributing to your heart’s health, as well as your entire body.

Periodontal disease can affect your overall health. Over time, it may increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Several studies have shown that people with periodontal disease may be more likely to have coronary artery disease than people with healthy mouths.

Science has two explanations for this association. One is that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can release toxins that travel through the bloodstream and help form fatty plaques in the arteries. These plaque deposits can lead to serious problems, such as blood clots, which can block blood flow. This in turn, can lead to a heart attack.

The other explanation is that these bacteria cause the liver to make high levels of certain proteins, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels. Inflammation could also lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Heart attack or stroke can sometimes present as jaw pain. This can be a warning sign of one of these medical emergencies. You should never disregard this pain as just a hard day, or perhaps too much strain during work or exercise. Always mention to your dentist if you have had jaw pain. Most importantly, ask your dentist what the status is of your periodontia, otherwise known as gums. Also, inform the dentist if you have high blood pressure, Congestive Heart Failure, suffer from angina (chest pain), or have had heart surgery. These may require extra measures before or during dental treatment.

Thanks for your time, hopefully this was helpful. Now kiss your loved one and enjoy a piece of dark chocolate! (One piece a day can have added health benefits)


Kristina Wagers, RDH