Healthy Smiles Mean Healthy Hearts

Posted on June 25, 2013

image032Everyone knows they're supposed to brush their teeth everyday. But did you know, healthy chompers mean more than just having the ability to chew your food and flash a pretty smile?  According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum (periodontal) disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease (heart disease). And one study found that the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.  

Periodontal disease and heart disease both run in my family and have had devastating consequences. Knowing this has me practicing great oral hygiene.  Despite having some receding gums, I know enacting healthy regimens is always better late than never. 

To keep your mouth and heart healthy and happy, be sure to practice these 5 tips:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene (2 min brushing sessions, 2x daily, floss and clean your tongue)

See a dental professional regularly (2x year)

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (walnuts, salmon, ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, beets, strawberries)

Drink water!  (Soda will strip away the enamel on your teeth.  Our saliva is actually a natural mechanism to prevent tooth decay)

Use Xylitol toothpaste (it's a nice alternative to controversial fluoride)

The cells that line blood vessels to the heart are very fragile. If the bacteria from the gums gets into the blood stream, they attach to the damaged and broken capiliaries in the heart and have an atherosclerotic response.  Translation, the bacteria that forms the plaque on your teeth can form as clumps of plaque in your arteries which indicate heart disease.

 

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There are circulating immune system cells within the gums. An inflammatory response anywhere in the body is a signal there is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.  However, if inflammation is allowed to continue, the immune response then becomes more aggressive.  When this occurs in the mouth, the cells spew enzymes that destroy bacteria in the area, but end up destroying even the healthy bacteria.

Bottom line, prevention is best.  It's important and affordable to clean between your teeth and the use a water pick and tongue scraper are highly recommended by holistic dentists.  Neglecting your teeth and gums has the potential to dramatically and negatively impact your future health.  To prevent pain, keep a pretty smile and keep healthy teeth in your mouth, show your teeth and gums a little TLC everyday.


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