Supporting heart and vascular health – Julie Deverick – BSDHT

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  Posted by: The Probe      5th September 2019

In recent years, the link between oral health and various vascular and heart conditions has become clear. Research has identified that the bacteria present in our mouths responsible for gum disease can also exacerbate or even cause heart conditions.[i]This is because these bacteria can clog arteries when they enter the bloodstream, leading to heart attacks and other fatal implications.

Heart disease is one of the biggest health threats in the Western world. Ischaemic heart conditions (those caused by narrowed arteries) routinely crown the World Health Organisation’s list of the top ten causes of death every year, and in 2016 when the figures were last collected, they were responsible for 15.2 million of the 56.9 million deaths that year.[ii]

But what can we as dental professionals do to help? September is Vascular Disease Awareness Month, meaning it is the perfect time to be more proactive when it comes to raising awareness of vascular diseases (any condition affecting veins, arteries and lymphatics, including heart conditions) and warning patients about any risks they may be taking. Created by the Circulation Foundation, this initiative encourages people to speak openly about vascular diseases, especially as these are responsible for 40% of deaths in the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Step It Up’ and urges anyone who wants to participate to fund raise in different ways.

These include stopping smoking, eating more healthily and exercising more – all of which are likely to improve chances of avoiding vascular and heart diseases. Perhaps you can organise a sponsored long-distance cycling trip with some colleagues? What about holding a healthy eating competition at work where everyone takes part and donates a certain amount?

As Vascular Awareness Month takes place throughout the whole of September, it’s also a good chance to introduce some posters and other marketing materials into your practice that can remain for the whole duration. Tips on healthy eating, resources that can help people stop smoking – all of these are very helpful and may make the difference between someone developing a vascular condition or not.

You can find out more about Vascular Awareness Month HERE: https://www.circulationfoundation.org.uk/vascular-disease-awareness-month

You can also request an event pack from the Circulation Foundation. This includes two t-shirts, ribbons, balloons and collection tins so that you can raise awareness with ease. https://www.circulationfoundation.org.uk/get-pack

Overall, it’s important to always look out for our patients’ health in all ways that we can. Heart and vascular conditions are fatal and unforgiving, but by encouraging better oral health habits and raising awareness, we can do our bit to help associated fatality figures drop.

 

For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk

call 01788 575050 or email enquiries@bsdht.org.uk

 

 

[i]Mayo Clinic. Will Taking Care Of My Teeth Help Prevent Heart Disease? Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986[Last accessed June 19].

[ii]World Health Organization. The Top 10 Causes of Death. Link: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death[Last accessed June 19].


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