You may have heard that gum disease leads to heart disease. You also may have heard that bacteria are the common link between the two diseases. Your mouth is second only to your colon as a storage area of these dangerous germs. They start in your mouth, infect your blood stream, and then they attack your heart.

Unfortunately, many dentists think you can stop this progression simply by taking an antibiotic. But you can't.

A new study looked at heart disease prevention with antibiotic use. The researchers discovered that antibiotic use won't stop heart disease caused by periodontitis. Evidently, the infection overrides any benefit antibiotic use might give you.

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This study also found that gum disease was especially problematic in people under 65.  In these patients, the study found that gum disease increases your risk of heart disease fivefold!

These risks are huge. Bacteria are a normal part of our body. Poor hygiene simply allows them to multiply and cause inflammation and disease. But don't let your dentist talk you into taking antibiotics.

Instead, here's what you need to do to make sure you avoid gum and heart disease.

You already know you need to brush and floss regularly. But did you know a Water Pik - a device that sends out a jet of treated water that you direct between your gums and teeth - is more effective than flossing? Recent dental research shows that after 28 days, gum inflammation and bleeding were reduced from 40-93%. While flossing works great, it can't reduce inflammation and bleeding that fast. You can find a Water Pik at most discount stores and online.

After you brush and Water Pik your teeth, follow with an herbal mouthwash to protect your gums. My favorite is PERI-GUM. It's both safe and effective for gum health. In an eight-week university study, the product reduced plague scores by 16% and reduced gingival disease by 20%. You can get more information on this innovative product by calling 908-272-3081 or visiting their website.

Don't wait for loose teeth or a heart attack. This is one problem you can prevent.

Ref: Barnes C.M., et al. J Clin. Dent 2005, 16(3); J. of Dental Research January 2006; Atherosclerosis, January 2006.

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