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Dentists are warning that poor dental health can lead to periodontal, or gum disease, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease and a number of other ailments.
Researchers at the American Academy of Periodontology have found that people with gum disease are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease that those with healthy mouths, the Arizona Republic reports.
The publication also cited figures from the National Institute of Health, which showed that nearly 80 per cent of adults in the US have some form of periodontitis, which it defines as a chronic bacterial infection of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth.
It is not known exactly what links gum and heart disease, but there are a number of main theories, including the idea that if left untreated, gum disease can cause chronic inflammation throughout the body, which could cause arteries to swell.
Scientists have also suggested that bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream could allow plaque to form in arteries.
Daily brushing and flossing, plus regular professional teeth cleaning sessions at the dentist are all key to preventing periodontal disease.
Dentist Dr Kim Boggess recently told KTIV that there is a link between gum disease in expectant mothers and a difficult labor.
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