ADHA Urges Consumers to Ask How Gum Disease Promotes Heart Attacks?

Oct 01, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    CHICAGO, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- "Want Some Life-Saving Advice? Ask Your
 Dental Hygienist" how gum disease promotes heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and
 premature babies.
     That's the question dental hygienists want Americans to ask during
 October's 9th annual National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM), according to
 American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) President Ann Naber, RDH. In
 response, dental hygienists will educate patients about the mounting evidence
 linking poor oral health to numerous life-threatening diseases, Naber
     "Around this same time last year, the Surgeon General's office released a
 landmark report, Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General,
 confirming a link between gum disease and heart and lung diseases," Naber
 said, adding that more than 75 percent of adults suffer from some form of gum
     "Disease-causing bacteria that live in the mouth spread toxins to the
 heart and other parts of the body via the circulatory system," Naber
     "This symbiotic connection broadens today's dental hygienists' scope of
 care to include not just expertise in preventing oral diseases but also
 diagnostic understanding of other systemic diseases that have oral
 manifestations," Naber said.
     In order to maintain optimal oral health, Naber suggested people implement
 a few simple hygiene habits such as daily flossing into an oral health care
     In fact, a University of Chicago researcher found that daily flossing can
 add 6-12 years to a person's life -- comparable to quitting smoking.
     And according to the Surgeon General's Report, fluoride is another example
 of an underutilized prevention tool.
     The 1945 advent of fluoridated drinking water was one of the 20th
 Century's 10 greatest achievements -- an effective, safe and inexpensive way
 to prevent tooth decay for people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds,
 the Report stated.
     But despite its proven effectiveness, almost half of U.S. water supplies
 still are not fluoridated, which translates into 18,000 communities and more
 than 40 million children who do not receive fluoride in their drinking water.
     Even if they live in areas that don't have fluoridated drinking water,
 Naber said individuals can best improve their oral health by eating a healthy
 diet, maintaining good oral hygiene, along with adopting health-promoting
 behaviors like quitting smoking and regular oral health care exams.
     Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists' Association, NDHM began in
 1985 as a week-long observance designed to raise public awareness about
 preventive oral health care.
     By 1993, NDHM activities had grown so varied and widespread that a week
 was not enough to fit all the projects planned by dental hygienists and
 corporate supporters around the country so it was expanded to include the
 entire month of October.
     ADHA encourages community leaders to contact their local dental hygiene
 associations to learn more about NDHM programs and activities.
     ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional
 interests of the more than 100,000 dental hygienists across the country.
     Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in
 dental hygiene, who specialize in the prevention and treatment of oral
 diseases in order to protect total health.
     If you would like more information about dental hygiene, preventive oral
 health, or the connection between periodontal (gum) disease and life-
 threatening illnesses such as heart disease; diabetes; low-birthweight babies,
 or respiratory ailments, visit ADHA at .
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SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association