How to avoid heart disease: brush your teeth!

There has been growing scientific evidence that poor oral hygiene boosts the risks of heart attacks and strokes. New studies link bacteria and bacterial infections as independent risk factors for heart disease.

How does this happen? If you have gum disease (and 90% of the population has some form of it), an open blood vessel from bleeding gums will give bacteria a portal to gain entry to your bloodstream. Once inside the bloodstream, certain bacteria stick onto cells called platelets, causing them to clot and decreasing blood flow to the heart.

So, while smoking, obesity and high cholesterol are the most common causes of heart disease, the importance of oral hygiene as a risk factor for heart disease cannot be overlooked.

We suggest that if you are concerned about your general health, then it is imperative to have superlative oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and using a waterpik. The spray from the waterpik used with an appropriate antibacterial agent will oxidize a lot of the harmful bacteria that reside in the gums. There are up to 700 different bacteria in the human mouth. Poor oral hygiene will cause these germs to flourish.

Also, many people would benefit from more frequent dental cleanings. Many of our patients have their teeth cleaned every 3 to 4 months. As with anything in medicine, prevention is the best defense to avoid disease.

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