As part of our effort to stay healthy from head to toe, we wanted to take some time this month to talk about heart and dental health. A few months ago, we shared two unconventional ways to commit to total body heath. Instead of spitting out statics from the latest studies, here is how and why taking care of your teeth help keep your heart healthy. How does taking care of your teeth affect your heart health? Understanding the connection between heart and dental health isn’t complicated. Most people know if you don’t take proper care of your teeth, diseases such as tooth decay and gingivitis develops. Also, you probably know that if you don’t regularly floss, your gums can become sore bleeding can result. Studies have shown the bacteria you’ve built up from poor dental habits can make its way into your blood stream. Traveling through the rest of your body, the bacteria can provoke inflammation or cause clogged arteries. Over time, these issues can develop into more serious problems. Why does it matter? Over time, the issues caused by bacteria in your blood stream can contribute to heart disease or other heart related issues. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 2,600 people in the U.S. die of heart disease every day. That's an average of one death every 34 seconds. In short… By not taking care of your teeth and gums, you’re ultimately opening yourself up for the potential to be diagnosed with heart disease or other heart related issues if dental bacteria enters the blood stream. It is evident from research that the two are directly related. How do you prevent this from happening? While regular dental exams and cleanings are necessary to remove bacteria, plaque and tartar and detect early signs of gum disease, you can play a major role in preventing bacteria build up: • Brush for two to three minutes twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline without using too much force. • Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. • Use a mouth rinse to reduce plaque up to 20 percent. • Eat a healthy diet, low in refined sugars, to provide essential nutrients (vitamins A and C, in particular). • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. At Downtown Dental, we want you to have more than a nice smile; we want you to live a healthy, vibrant life. That’s why we’re committed to total body health. Join us in staying healthy from head to toe and taking care of the most important part of your body: your heart.