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What Your Dental Health Says About You

Common oral problems have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature birth, and more.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

With the mouth and body so closely linked, dentists and physicians should collaborate more closely, Karabin says. "Physicians need to be trained to examine the mouth, and dentists need to understand more about systemic disease so they can pick up on some of the cues."

The findings also serve to bring home the importance of oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles, Genco says. Clean between your teeth daily with floss, or try some of the interdental picks available at drugstores. If your gums bleed with flossing and don't stop after three to four days, see your dentist.

In most cases, gum disease isn't painful. So even if you're feeling fine, visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams. You may find out more than you ever expected. "Today, more dentists aren't just looking at teeth and gums," says Cram. "They're giving you a good medical exam."

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Reviewed on July 12, 2010

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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