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Wellness news: Keeping your heart healthy with better oral care

Feb 21, 2017

Claiming around 610,000 lives each year, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the U.S.

Did you know that research has found a link between this deadly disease and the health of your gums?

Having gum disease increases the risk of a first heart attack by 28%, according to a 2016 study by the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden.

"Although the findings indicate a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, it's still unclear whether one actually causes the other," according to the American Heart Association. The two conditions have some of the same risk factors, including smoking, poor nutrition and diabetes. Researchers believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the connection.

Prevention is the best medicine — Regular healthy habits can lower your risk of both gum disease and heart disease. If you already have one or both of these conditions, these strategies can help reduce their impact:

  • Brush and floss regularly. To remove plaque-forming bacteria, brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, and don't skip the floss.
  • Choose a healthy diet, rich in essential nutrients (especially vitamins A and C). Reduce or eliminate sugar and starches.
  • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. These habits can destroy your gums and increase your chance of heart disease.

For more information on oral and heart health, visit Delta Dental Insurance.

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