gum disease

  1. Gum disease linked to dementia

    Oral bacteria could cause Alzheimer's

    You don't need an expensive MRI for a glimpse of dementia's earliest warning signs.

    All you need is some dental floss.

    Run it through your teeth, and if it comes out the same color as it did when it went in, congratulations.

    You've got healthy gums... and possibly a healthy brain.

    But if they come out looking as bloody as a Civil War bandage, then you could have both gum disease AND one of the earliest warning signs of dementia -- because new research finds the same bacteria that'll rot your mouth out might do the same to your brain.

    In the study, researchers peeked into the brains of 20 people -- 10 with Alzheimer's, and 10 without. While none of the dementia-free patients had gum bacteria in the brain, 4 of the 10 who had the disease also had the bacteria living upstairs.

    Now, I can't file a study of just 20 people under "rock-solid proof" so let's just file this under "interesting" for now. But at the same time, don't dismiss it -- because a dirty, bloody mouth is an open invitation for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and take a joyride through your body.

    And since we already know these nasty oral germs can cause inflammation, and are a risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and stroke, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find they could also wreck the brain.

    So do your best to keep 'em out -- and the best way to do that is to take care of your mouth the Douglass way: Mix a little baking soda with some 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, work them into the teeth and gums, and then rinse with some of the peroxide.

    Be sure to spit the peroxide out, and don't forget to floss. You'll have the most kissable kisser in town.

  2. Killer breath

    Why bad breath is bad for your heart

    A dirty mouth is a deadly one. And I'm not talking about killer breath -- I'm talking about killer heart attacks.

    I've told you for years that oral health affects heart health. Now, one scientist has figured out the "why" behind this cause-and-effect relationship.

    It turns out that the same nasty bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease can get into your bloodstream and cause blood clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

    The culprit is the common Streptococcus bacteria -- the same family responsible for everything from strep throat to the flesh-eating disease -- and the researchers say bleeding gums are like an open door for them.

    Think an antibiotic might help? Think again -- because the study presented at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn conference also found that the bacteria actually use those clots as a shield, making them immune to meds.

    So naturally, the researchers say they want to use their study as an excuse to develop new meds.

    C'mon already -- enough's enough!

    Why mess around with drugs when clean teeth and gums will do the trick every time? They can't get in if you don't let them -- and that's entirely up to you.

    Just remember to take care of your teeth the right way: Without that toxic waste known as fluoride.

    And unless you like spitting money into the sink with each cleaning, you don't need toothpaste -- or, for that matter, a toothbrush. Just mix some 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to form a paste, and gently work it into your teeth and gums with your fingertips.

    Rinse with the peroxide (just don't swallow). Don't forget to floss, and make regular use of a water irrigator like the Waterpik.

    Of course, the best dental habits in the world won't save your teeth -- or your life -- if your diet is filled with sugary junk food.

  3. Why bad breath is bad for your heart

    I've told you for years that oral health affects heart health. Now, one scientist has figured out the "why" behind this cause-and-effect relationship.
  4. Giving strokes the brush

    Well, it has been known for some time that infected teeth and gums (a condition known as periodontal disease) can lead to heart disease.

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