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February is Heart Health Month—or American Heart Health Month, depending on whether you’re talking to The Heart Foundation or The American Heart Association. Whatever you prefer to call it, the point is clear. Heart Health Month 2017 is here and it’s a good time to take a look at your ticker and make some healthy changes to live a better, longer life. And a good place to start is with your smile.

More and more research shows that your oral health can impact your overall health. Studies show gum disease can contribute to several major health issues, including heart disease. In fact, research has shown that people with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease when bacteria from a gum infection enters the blood stream and invades the heart vessels, causing infection or inflammation.

One way to help optimize your health is simply brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. And, see your dentist at least every six months for a teeth cleaning and checkup. In some cases where brushing isn’t enough, Smile Generation®-trusted dentists work closely with periodontists, who are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Heart Month with healthy smiles and healthy hearts.