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Good Dental Health Habits Pay Off

Posted Aug 18 2010 12:00am
Your mother was right. She told you to brush your teeth and floss after every meal. Mom was concerned about cavities, and maybe avoiding a big dental bill, but it turns out flossing and brushing your teeth can do more than prevent cavities. Good dental hygiene can mean a longer, healthier life.

Your doctor may not mention it, but flossing your teeth at least once a day is important for heart health and probably joint health.

“There is a link between gum disease and cardiac disease,” says Ali Tabrizchi, D.O . a LifeBridge Health cardiologist.

According to a study reported in “ Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association ,” poor dental hygiene may be a predictor for heart disease.

Evidence shows that those with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. Researchers theorize that bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream through the gums and contribute to blockages in the arteries.

Another theory is that as the body fights off infection caused by bacteria, inflammation causes the arteries to narrow.

And now, researchers are finding gum diseases that cause inflammation may also play a role in rheumatoid arthritis.

‘There is speculation that dental and gum diseases can trigger rheumatoid arthritis,” says Peter K. Wun g, M.D., a LifeBridge Health rheumatologist.

Pearly whites and fresh breath are only the icing on the cake for maintaining good oral hygiene. Reducing your risks of strokes, heart attacks and arthritis can be the real payoff.

-Sandra Crockett
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