The human heart truly appreciates it when we eat healthy foods, don’t smoke, and exercise regularly. But there’s something else that can improve your heart’s longevity and you may not know about: keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.
Bacteria responsible for periodontal disease have been found in the heart area of subjects who suffer from artery inflammation, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Physicians and dentists, like Dr. Richard Barnes, think that it is not difficult for oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream through diseased, bleeding gums, and abscesses that reach from the gums into veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart.
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene and visiting Barnes Dental every six months, here are ten other ways you can make your heart love you for the rest of your life:
- Avoid eating foods that contain saturated fat (fatty meats, processed meats, pastries, butter).
- Craving a crunchy snack? Grab a handful of tree nuts: pecans, almonds, walnuts. They’re rich in monounsaturated fats (the “good” kind of fat) as well as vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
- Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast nourishes your heart with a soluble fiber called beta-glucan that can reduce cholesterol and help prevent atherosclerosis.
- Think “fish” the next time you shop for groceries, especially sardines, salmon, fresh tuna, and mackerel. These fish provide omega-3 fatty acids that lower triglycerides and blood pressure, and may help prevent blood clots from forming.
- Opt for whole grains over processed white breads and cereals.
- Put that remote control (or computer mouse) down right now and get moving! Walk, swim, ride a bike, plant flowers; your heart likes to pump, so make it pump.
- Refresh your brain and improve your heart health with at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- De-stress your life as much as possible: relax, stay optimistic, and don’t sweat the petty stuff!
- Watch your weight and get regular health examinations, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.
- And don’t forget to brush, floss, and rinse twice a day!