What You Should Know About Proper Oral Care and Heart Disease

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The importance of oral health really can’t be overstated. Just because you’re constantly reminded to brush and floss (and brush more and floss more, and brush again and floss again) doesn’t make either activity any less essential for maintaining a healthy smile. And these days, a mouth full of pristine pearly whites does a lot for your likability, at least according to studies from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Researchers there found that 40% of women and 35% of men say that a person’s smile plays a huge role in how appealing they appear to them in a romantic setting. What’s more is that over 70% of women and nearly 60% of men say a smile is the first thing they notice in a potential partner.

Still not convinced?

Consider, for a moment, the health benefits of a strong, straight smile. Tooth loss is obviously not anyone’s favorite misfortune to endure, but the health risks inherent with it go beyond simple aesthetics. Indeed, scientists have found potential links between poor oral health and serious issues like heart disease developing down the road.

The basic breakdown looks a little like this:

Gum disease can add to clots inside your arteries.

There’s a reason your family dentist keeps telling you not to forget your floss wherever you go. Food particles that remain inside the mouth (specifically, wedged between your teeth) can turn into bacteria very quickly, causing damage to your gums. Once your gums begin suffering from disease, the same bacteria can enter your bloodstream and eventually end up as clots inside your arteries, blocking the blood flow to your heart. This can greatly increase the risk of heart attack by significantly upping your blood pressure.

Gum disease can be a warning about serious heart issues.

It’s easy to tell when a person is suffering from gum disease. Sensitive teeth, tender and swollen gums, bleeding gums and chronic bad breath are all common symptoms, bust because you have sensitive teeth doesn’t mean you necessarily have heart disease. However, studies show that an overwhelming 90% of all systemic diseases exhibit oral symptoms, which means any warning signs at all inside your mouth should be examined by a doctor immediately.

The best way to fight gum disease is by preventing it.

Avoid smoking and poor eating habits in order to keep your mouth free of disease-causing substances. Acidic foods will also wreak havoc on your teeth and may cause them to rot, so specifically avoid carbonated, sugary sodas and an overload of sweets and candies. And always — always — brush and floss, not just when the dentist tells you to. Get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with mouthwash, too.

Remember: Just because you don’t really care how your smile looks doesn’t mean you can skimp out on the basics of basic oral hygiene. Sensitive teeth or not, your regular brushing and flossing just might be saving your life. Good refereneces.

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