February is American Heart month! Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Research has found a surprising number of links between your oral health and the condition of your heart. People who develop gum disease (either gingivitis, a milder form that results in inflammation and infection of the gums, or periodontitis, which develops when the inflammation and infection spread below the gum line) are nearly twice at risk for heart disease.
WARNING: This fact may startle you:
80 percent of the U.S. population has some form of periodontal (gum) disease.
– From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite this statistic, gum and other oral diseases are 100% preventable. The secret: Practicing good, daily dental hygiene. In honor of American Heart Month, your Penfield dentist has the top five dental tips you need to do to keep your smile in tip-top shape and help prevent heart disease.
1. Brush Daily – Always brush two minutes, two times a day.
Brushing your teeth thoroughly (and gently) is the most important method to reducing plaque and preventing tooth decay and gum disease. When brushing, be sure to place the brush head at a 45 degree angle on your gumline and tooth surface while moving the toothbrush in a circular motion. Important: Make sure you replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
2. Floss Daily – Make it a habit.
Brushing your teeth is extremely important, but it only cleans 70% of your mouth. Flossing covers the other 30% by removing plaque and food particles in between teeth. Neglecting flossing will only increase your chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Talk to our dental hygienists at The Smile Center to learn the proper way to floss.
3. Swish and Rinse – Use mouthwash every day.
Incorporating mouthwash into your dental hygiene routine is an important step to a healthy mouth. Be sure to choose an non-alcoholic mouthwash to avoid dry mouth and be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Approval for a supreme healthy mouth.
4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum – Add some sweetness to your routine.
After every meal and drink, plaque takes the opportunity to produce acid, attacking your smile. Research has shown chewing sugar-free gum after every meal can protect your smile because it increases the quantity of saliva, which neutralizes the acid.
5. Visit Your Dentist Regularly – Every 6 months or more!
Having your teeth cleaned professionally every 6 months, or more frequently as recommended by your dentist or hygienist, gives him the chance to examine your teeth for potential warning signs of larger oral health concerns. Because many serious dental issues can be addressed more effectively (and more affordably!) when they are caught at an early stage, it’s especially important to have your dentist perform regular checkups.
Practice these five tips and schedule your biannual check ups with Dr.Sanon in Penfield to maintain a beautiful smile and a healthy heart!