There are many obvious reasons to take good care of you’re teeth and gums, for instance having white, attractive teeth, fresh breath, no cavities, less dental trips, gum disease, and gingivitis. However, researches have discovered recently that having good oral hygiene can also lead to a healthy heart.

Research has shown that people who have periodontal also have a much increased risk of having thicker carotid arteries which can lead to heart disease and stroke. This means that, the higher amount of plaque you have in your mouth is going to equal higher amounts of plaque in your heart and arteries. The connection between these two diseases is not entirely known, but scientists speculate that periodontal disease may start a surge of chemical reactions that can cause inflammation throughout the body.

In order to protect yourself from the scary proposition of heart disease you should not only be more active and eat a healthy diet, but you should also start taking better care of your teeth. Did you know that there are more bacteria in your mouth than there is on the surface of the earth? And the if that bacteria is not cleaned out regularly it will settle in your mouth and cause gum disease. Most people don’t want to admit that they are at risk for having gum disease but in fact, about 90% of adults are in at least the beginning stages of gum disease, and those people (including children) who are diabetic are at an even higher risk for contracting the disease. But, not all the news is bad, there are many ways you can prevent gum disease, and consequently, also help prevent heart problems. The steps you should take are as follows: brush your teeth twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, visit your dentist twice a year, and learn about and look for the early stages of gum disease.

Maybe you are worried that you might already have gum disease. If that is the case, you should be looking for the following warning signs. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, red, swollen, and tender gums, gums that have pulled away from the tooth, exposing part of the root or making the teeth appear longer, bad breath, and permanently loose teeth. If you do have any of the above symptoms, please contact your doctor as soon as possible because if gum disease is left untreated in will only get worse.

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