1. How to beat the dentist every time

    The heart-healthy benefits of a clean mouth

    It's the kind of research only a dentist could love: People who get the most intensive dental cleanings have a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke.

    The more cleanings you get, the lower your risk -- with patients who get scalings every year having a 24-percent lower risk of a heart attack and a 13-percent lower risk of a stroke than people who never have the procedure, according to a new study out of Taiwan.

    Scalings, if you don't know, are the hellishly painful "deep cleanings" in which a dentist pulls plaque and other junk from between your teeth and gums using sharp instruments that would be right at home in a medieval torture chamber.

    I can't help but think that some dentists enjoy using those instruments just a little too much -- but if that was the only way to get the job done, I'd say strap in and brace for the pain.

    After all, this isn't the first study to find a clear link between a clean mouth and a healthy heart.

    But don't make that appointment yet -- because visiting a dentist is like having lunch in a toxic waste dump: mercury, fluoride, radiation and more, all aimed right at your kisser.

    You might leave with clean teeth, but at what price?

    You can do a much better job of keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape, and all you need is baking soda and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.

    Mix the two into a paste and gently massage it into and around your teeth with your fingertips. Then, rinse with (but don't swallow) the peroxide. Don't forget to floss, and be sure to use a water irrigator like the Waterpik.

    Believe me, your trips to the dentist will be quick and painless -- and you'll never have to suffer through a scaling.

    One more note on this: The most careful dental habits in the world won't do a thing to protect your teeth or your heart from the ravages of a diet loaded with sugar and other processed carbs.

    In other words, don't just watch your mouth -- watch what you put in it as well, and you'll avoid both the dentist and the cardiologist.

  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.

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