Skip to content

Oral Care

Preventing Gum Disease When You’re at Risk for Heart Disease

Font Size
A
A
A

Gum Disease and Heart Disease continued...

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you brush lightly at a 45 degree angle with short, side-to-side strokes. Do it twice a day. Don't be bashful about asking your dentist or hygienist for a refresher during your next appointment. A good ADA-approved electric toothbrush can also help remove some of the guesswork.

Floss regularly

Flossing gets rid of the bacteria and plaque between the teeth, where brushes can't reach. While it's important for gum health, flossing is one of those things that many of us know we should do, but don't. One survey found that only about half of Americans floss daily.

If you don't floss every day, it's time to join the other half. Again, ask your dentist or hygienist for tips. Be gentle -- vigorously sawing at your gums will make things worse. If you have trouble holding the floss correctly, a simple device called a floss holder might help.

Get your teeth cleaned every six months

Regular dental cleanings and checkups are crucial for everybody -- and especially for people at risk of heart disease. Cleanings will keep plaque and tartar under control. If you do wind up developing gum disease, your dentist will catch it early.

Generally, experts recommend dental cleanings twice a year. Some people need them more often. Ask your dentist or hygienist what he or she recommends.

Consider an antiseptic mouthwash

If you have a problem with bacterial build-up in your mouth, your dentist might recommend an antiseptic mouthwash as an insurance policy. Some are available by prescription. However, don't think that swishing some mouthwash is a good alternative to brushing and flossing. It isn't.

Stop smoking

If you don't smoke, great. But if you do, it's time to make an attempt -- or another attempt -- at quitting. You probably know that smoking is bad for your heart. You might not know that smoking is one of the top causes of gum disease; smoking also makes existing gum disease worse. People who smoke are up to seven times more likely to have bone loss in the jaw. Smoking can even prevent treatments for gum disease from working.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
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.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

close up of woman sticking out tongue
Sores, discoloration, bumps and more.
toothbrushes
10 secrets to a brighter smile.
 
Veneer smile
Before and after.
Woman checking her bite in mirror
Why dental care is important.
 

Woman dissatisfied with granola bar
Slideshow
woman with jaw pain
Quiz
 
eroded front teeth
Slideshow
brushing teeth
Video
 

Variety shades of tea
Slideshow
mouth and dental instruments
Article
 
Closeup of a happy young guy brushing his teeth
Tool
womans smile
Video