Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fight Oral Disease to Protect Your Heart and Toes

How on earth can teeth have an impact on your heart health and your toes? It sounds a bit far-fetched doesn't it? Over ten years of research has linked oral disease to more than 90 percent of the systemic diseases that affect all parts of the human body. The list of systemic diseases includes diabetes (which can lead to toe and limb amputations) and cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer and thyroid disease. That list of serious diseases seems like a pretty good reason to pay close attention to what's going on in your mouth and to take excellent care of your teeth.

How to Fight Oral Disease

Regular visits to the dentist for cleaning and exams are one of the most important things you can do to improve your oral health, because a dentist can catch problems before they become serious and cause systemic disease to develop. You can try a few effective things on your own, too.
  • Brush: Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day with a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Make sure to brush each tooth, from all angles to make sure you get rid of plaque and bacteria.
  • Floss: Grab the floss or a dental pick with floss in it, and clean between teeth. Be gentle so you don't hurt your gums, but make sure to run the strand of floss firmly against each tooth, in every gap.
  • Rinse: Rinse teeth and your tongue with an antimicrobial rinse, preferably one with added fluoride, to kill even more bacteria than you already removed by brushing and to help fight tooth decay.
  • Eat healthy: Eat lots of calcium-rich foods as well as fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods that stick to your teeth, and when you do eat sugary foods, brush and floss right away.
  • Be kind to teeth: Avoid acidic foods, such as lemons. Don't clench your jaw, open things with your teeth, or bite ice cubes. If you bite your fingernails, try to find a way to stop. All of these things damage teeth and lead to bigger problems.
The things you do to brighten your smile also help improve oral health, and your heart and toes will thank you for your efforts. As an added benefit, you get a bright, shiny smile as your reward for the extra care you give your teeth.

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