Brushing your teeth might make your smile bright and your breath fresh, but did you know that it can keep your heart healthy, too? Emerging research has found that people with gum disease are nearly two times as likely to have coronary artery disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, and coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease.
Gum disease, which affects the tissues that surround and support teeth, is an infection caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque that forms on the teeth, mainly along the gum line. In its early stages, called gingivitis, gum disease can be treated and often reversed.
Research continues in an effort to pinpoint the exact connection between gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, taking care of your teeth and gums may be even more important for maintaining your overall health.
To help keep your mouth and healthy, follow these tips to help prevent problems before they arise:
1. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Make sure you brush gently beneath the gum line around each tooth.
2. Floss at least once a day.
3. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
4. Eat a healthy diet and don’t use tobacco. If you smoke, quit. Your dentist may be able to help.