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National Heart (and Dental) Month

Published: February 11, 2011

Can the billions of germs in our mouths harm our hearts and blood vessels? Scientists say that bacteria linked to gum disease also show up in plaque that builds up in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. And others suspect that oral bacteria release toxins that fuel potentially harmful inflammation within artery walls.

While scientists continue to examine the evidence, experts agree it makes sense to take good care of your teeth and gums. Dentist Dr. Kevin Boehm, a holistic health expert with Chicago Healers offers these oral care tips that just might do your heart a favor, too:

Floss every day and brush twice daily — three times a day if heart disease runs in your family. Having clean and healthy gums lowers heart risk, but developing gum disease increases it. Dr. Boehm recommends using an electric toothbrush. But a $2 toothbrush is better than not brushing at all.

Chart a healthy eating plan. Browse the perimeter rather than center aisles of the grocery store. Add fruit, vegetables, and small portions of lean protein to your cart. Stay away from processed foods, and those with added sugar. Don’t even consider the snack items available at checkout lines. Eating well provides antioxidants and vitamins to help the body fend off gum and heart disease.

Do it now. Make a daily habit of good oral care and eating well to help heal your gums and reduce health risks.

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