Preventative Dental Care Directly Linked to a Healthy Heart

Dr. Rich Gilbert speaks on alternative to CPAP

Preventative Dental Care Directly Linked to a Healthy HeartPaying attention to your oral hygiene, especially your gums, may play a bigger role in your overall health than you may think. Proper oral hygiene also contributes to keeping your heart healthy. Preventative care of your teeth and gums help to fight against various deadly heart diseases. The mouth is a vital health indicator for the rest of the body.

Many Americans keep their hearts healthy by exercising regularly and carefully watching their diet; eating in moderation those foods with sugar, starch, grease or fat. Healthy food choices are great lifestyle habits but to maintain a healthy heart, it is crucial to take the necessary steps towards optimal oral health.

There is a link between inflammation in the oral cavity as well as linking periodontal disease to cardiovascular health. Developing healthy habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits, helps children get a head start on achieving -healthy teeth and gums for life!

When you brush or floss your teeth, do your gums bleed? This could be an early indication that your gums are already infected with bacteria from the built up plaque on your teeth. If left untreated, the infection may spread and destroy the bone and gums that support your teeth.

Coronary Heart Disease is described as, a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries from a buildup of fatty proteins. When oral bacteria enter the bloodstream, they attach to the fatty plaque and contribute to clot formation; which can obstruct the flow of blood to the heart.

It is important to brush and floss daily to remove the built up bacteria from your teeth and gums. If you see signs of blood when you brush or floss, make an appointment with Pelican Landing Dental as soon as possible (239-948-2111). Gum disease can be managed and controlled if it is caught early.

Another health connection between oral health and heart disease is sleep apnea. People with cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke have a high prevalence of sleep apnea.

During Sleep apnea, the upper airway collapses and oxygen is cut off from the lungs. The body triggers a fight-or-flight response, which decreases blood flow to the heart. Together these two actions raise blood pressure and over time wear out the heart. Thereby, increasing excessive and aggressive snoring, as in the case of obstructive sleep apnea, is a serious health threat that puts you at high risk for heart disease and stroke when untreated.


Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing you to snore loudly.

There are several treatment options for sleep apnea CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the most common treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea in adults. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over your mouth and nose, or just over your nose.

CPAP machine aggressively blows air down your throat throughout the night. The pressure from the air helps keep your airway open while you sleep. CPAP works great for treating sleep apnea but unfortunately is unfavorable for patients. The main complaints from CPAP users are: claustrophobic, sores and rashes, excessive heat during night, dislodgement and travel inconveniences.

Fortunately, a small custom fabricated dental appliance can be equally as effective as a CPAP and much less intrusive. These FDA-approved devices essentially treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea by preventing the obstruction and allowing the patient to breathe easily and continuously. Worn in the mouth like an orthodontic appliance during sleep, oral appliances keep the soft tissue from collapsing and interrupting normal breathing patterns! The purpose of the oral appliance is to reposition the lower jaw, tongue or soft palate to keep the airway open.

Dr. Gilbert is well versed in all the different sleep apnea oral appliances available. After a brief consultation, Dr. Gilbert will explain which type of oral appliance will best suit you and why. All of Pelican Landing Dental’s oral appliances are completely custom fabricated from molds of your mouth and are thereby effective and easy to wear. Most patients find that it typically only takes a few nights to get used to wearing. Soon, you won’t ever want to sleep without it!

Dr. Gilbert will be speaking on “Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring” on February 18th, 2014 from 5:30-7:00 pm. The speaker series will be located on the 2nd floor classroom at Solaris Health and Wellness in Bonita Springs. RSVP tickets at (239) 514-2310 space is limited to the first 40 people. Free snacks and refreshments will be served.

Overall, oral health effects long term heart health. Healthy teeth and gums decrease your risk for heart disease and stroke. For National Children’s Dental Month, bring your whole family into Pelican Landing Dental. We want to help the whole family recieve the proper tools for achieving-Healthy Teeth & Gums for Life!!

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