(CARLSBAD, CA) – You eat right, exercise regularly, and you don’t smoke. You’ve taken all the right steps to minimize your risk for heart disease. Or have you? The newest recommendation by American heart experts may surprise you. Cardiologists across the country are now encouraging patients to floss their teeth!
In 2009, Howard University researchers found through eleven separate studies that patients diagnosed with periodontal disease were at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Since cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of both men and women in the United States, leading to more than 2,000 deaths every day, this new revelation is not to be taken lightly.
The American Academy of Periodontology has conducted several studies during the past two years to identify the connection between gum disease and heart disease. Studies show that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and connect to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett gives these suggestions for good oral hygiene to protect your gums and your heart.
• Brush your teeth. Remove plaque at least twice daily from your teeth by using a soft-bristled toothbrush that allows you to access the full surface of every tooth. When the bristles get worn or frayed, go ahead and spring for a new toothbrush. It’s a lot cheaper than a trip to the cardiologist!
• Floss. Yes, your mother was right to nag you. Daily flossing is imperative to keep plaque from building up on your teeth.
• Seal the deal. The next time that you purchase oral hygiene products, look for the ADA seal of approval, which means that the American Dental Association has approved the item. More than 300 dental products carry the ADA seal, including toothpaste, dental floss, manual and electric toothbrushes, and mouth rinse.
• Make an appointment. Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning at least twice per year. Talk to your dentist about the connection between proper oral hygiene and heart health.
• Know your facts. While the main culprit for causing gum disease is plaque, there are other factors that can lead to periodontal problems. Smoking or tobacco use, genetic predisposition, stress, and teeth grinding can contribute towards gum disease, as well as some medications. Talk to your dentist and learn about your risk factors.
• Watch for symptoms. The warning signs for gum disease are red, swollen or tender gums, receding gums, loose or separating teeth, continual bad breath, and mouth sores. If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist right away.
The next time that you step on a treadmill or eat a heart-healthy breakfast, follow-up with a trip to your bathroom sink with toothbrush and toothpaste in hand. It’s a simple habit that could save your life.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.