How to keep your teeth, gums healthy
"Watch your mouth!" your mother might have reprimanded when you said something naughty, but it's also excellent advice to follow for maintaining your health as you age. Doctors are beginning to realize that the condition of a patient's gums, teeth and mouth is an important indicator of overall health, because the mouth can be the gateway for bacteria to cause problems in other parts of the body. Periodontal disease — bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone — has been linked to heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. "Bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream, affecting parts of the body like the heart or joints, triggering inflammatory reactions," says Alexandre Vieira, associate professor of oral biology at the University of Pittsburgh.
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