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Your Mouth, Your Health

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.What does your teeth say about what’s going on in your body? Lots! H.B. in Moreno Valley asks if advanced gum disease may be linked to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and pre-term birth?

The early stage of gum disease is gingivitis—which affects a majority of all adult Americans at some point in their lives. And most don’t even know it.

Many theories exist and more studies are underway to explore the connection between good oral health and overall health. Despite the differing opinions on this topic, one thing is clear: a healthy mouth leads only to good things.

The research isn’t conclusive, but red, swollen, and bleeding gums may point to health problems from heart disease to diabetes.

Sometimes, bacteria from your mouth can travel to your bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory reaction elsewhere in your body. Left untreated, gum disease can increase your risk for a host of diseases linked to inflammation such as arthritis.

Here are a few things you can do to get a healthier mouth:

· Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. A worn toothbrush won’t do as good job of cleaning your teeth.

· Visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams. The more you go, the healthier your mouth will be–and those visits will seem less daunting.

· Limit foods that are high in sugar. If you do give in to your sweet tooth, eat sugary foods with meals.

· Limit between-meal snacks. You know the ones. They call to you from the vending machine. If you indulge, chew sugarless gum afterward. It increases saliva flow and helps wash out food and acid that causes tooth decay.

· Maintain a healthy oral care routine. Brush and rinse twice in one day, and floss once.

· Exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein it’s good for your mouth and your overall health.

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