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Greater Louisville Health Guide is a directory and resource guide to health providers and services in Louisville, Kentucky. Includes listings of area doctors and dentists, hospitals, nursing homes and emergency care.

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ROUNDS the Ounce of Prevention You know the drill (only half a pun intended): brush twice a day, Áoss regularly and visit your dentist twice a year. But there is more to good oral health than just brushing and Áossing. For those intent on keeping their own choppers and staying off the nitrous gas, here is a rundown of tips to keep you smiling. Prevent: Cavities Prevent: Gum Disease By age 12, 50 percent of us have cavities. It starts with plaque, which begins to accumulate on teeth within 20 minutes of eating. If this plaque is not removed thoroughly each day, tooth decay will Áourish. To keep teeth extraclean, ask your dentist what type of toothbrush you should use and where your problem areas are located. Also learn to properly Áoss your teeth — overly vigorous or improper Áossing may injure the gums. To be even more proactive, ask if you could beneÀt from particular toothpastes or mouth rinses. And last, the obvious: Stay away from sticky, sugary foods and sodas. Carroll says the latter is the worst. Sipping a cola throughout the day leaves your teeth in an acidic bath that energizes the sugar and bacteria that cause gum irritation and decay. Roughly 80 percent of the population has some form of gum disease. An early form is gingivitis, which means inÁammation of the gums. Healthy gums are pink and Àrm — at-risk gums tend to bleed and get bright red, tender and swollen. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, a chronic bacterial infection of the gums that destroys the bone and tissues that hold the teeth. It's the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Dr. Patrick Carroll of Exceptional Dentistry also warns that gum disease can put a person at risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Carroll says that chronic inÁammation and bleeding gums function as a superhighway for bugs to enter the body. The oral bacteria enter the bloodstream through the gums and can then attach to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries, causing clots to form. So how to keep gums healthy? Carroll says one important factor is not to use tobacco products of any kind; studies have shown use of tobacco contributes to gum disease. And see your dentist every six months — they have prescription toothpastes, xylitol mouthwash and many tools to head off disease. Prevent: Bad Breath Halitosis can be caused by many factors. There are the obvious, such as eating garlic and other potent foods and potables. But a culprit you might not think about, Carroll says, is sinus problems, which can lead to drainage and cause a bacterial coating on the throat and back of the tongue and even, through dry mouth, on the whole tongue. Solution? Watch the hummus and brush that tongue. 6 GREATER LOUISVILLE HEALTH GUIDE 2013-14

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