Rachael Rettner livescience.com Brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist keep your teeth and gums healthy, but maintaining good oral hygiene is also important for your overallhealth, research suggests. In some cases, oral problems can be a symptom of other diseases, such as diabetes. Research has also linked gum disease to heart disease, premature birth and even knee arthritis. "The mouth is a portal into the rest of the body," said Dr. Donald Ratcliffe, chairman of the department of dental medicine at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. Growing research shows "there's a relationship between the bacteria — and the inflammationthat bacteria cause in the mouth — [and] a lot of other diseases," he said.
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