Are dentists the secret to a long life?

The body is made up of amazing connections – stress in your mind can lead to ulcers in your stomach; too little sunshine and you can become depressed. And now, it seems, healthy teeth and gums are related to a healthy heart.

As children we are often told to do things for reasons we don’t understand. Brushing and flossing – basic dental hygiene – are some of those things. It’s cavities we are worried about then. No one mentions that healthy gums and teeth are directly connected to a healthy heart. So, coming into adulthood we are sometimes unsure of what we hear, but the facts are there: If you take care of your smile, you are taking care of your heart.

A poorly taken care of mouth is laden with plaque (the gummy white stuff which forms between the teeth and along the gums) and is essentially a mouth full of bacteria that is ingested every time you swallow. Streptococcus sanguis

is found in the saliva, and studies have shown a connection between this bacteria and coronary heart disease.

Mouths not regularly cleaned will be higher in the amount this bacteria and offer a higher risk of developing heart problems.

But keeping ahead of the danger is easy.

Flossing regularly is one of the easiest ways to prevent gum disease and keep your smile strong and bright. And while the advances in oral hygiene tools abound in pharmacy stores, flossing and brushing the old fashioned way is still the most effective.

Brushing often. Most of us don’t carry a toothbrush around, so finding time to brush in the middle of the day can be hard. If you can’t find the time throughout the day, try chewing some sugar-free gum after a meal. Also, when you do get brushing, don’t rush through it. Take the time to floss, and then brush – enjoy the ritual knowing that everything is connected and this little step can add healthy years to your life.