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February 5, 2008 - The Mouth Is at the Very Heart of the Matter

THE MOUTH IS AT THE VERY HEART OF THE MATTER

LOS ANGELES, CA - February 5, 2008 - Most Americans don't know that dentists, as physicians of the mouth, can be the first line of defense for detecting potentially deadly diseases. New research continues to raise public awareness of the link between the mouth and heart. This news is particularly relevant in February-which marks National Heart Month, Children's Dental Health Month, and of course, Valentine's Day.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that periodontal disease contributes to blood vessel dysfunction, and is linked to arthrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which contributes to cardiovascular disease. According to the Academy of Periodontology, one out of three Americans over the age 30 have some form of periodontitis, which means one out of three Americans are also at a higher risk of heart disease from prolonged exposure to bacteria in the gums and bloodstream. Sadly, many of these adult maladies are set in motion by poor habits in childhood.

"If taught at a young age, oral health habits are easier to maintain throughout adulthood," said Robert Klaus, president of Oral Health America, a non-profit organization which develops and implements educational and service programs to raise awareness of the connection between oral health and overall health. "It's becoming clearer and clearer that teaching children to practice good dental habits, and visit the dentist regularly, increases their chances of maintaining a healthy mouth and decreases the risk of serious health issues such as diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease in adulthood."

"Keeping a healthy mouth plays a huge role in having a healthy body," said Fred Joyal, CEO and Co-Founder of 1-800-DENTIST. "Regular dental visits can lead to early diagnosis and treatment that can save your life."

The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable, and by simply visiting your dentist routinely for a checkup and cleaningbrushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing everyday, eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding tobacco products, you can significantly decrease the chances of developing this serious, but treatable, disease.