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The Mouth Offers Insight into Overall Health

Narrator: This is Science Today. You may have heard the old adage that the eyes are the window to the soul, but perhaps not so much that your mouth is a window to your body's health. Mark Ryder, Chair of the Division of Periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry, says that's because a few decades ago, knowledge about the connection between bacteria in the mouth and overall health was limited.

Ryder: But now we've learned that there may be even more interesting connections between the bacteria and the rest of the body in that bacteria from an area like the mouth could perhaps predispose you to develop atherosclerosis and all the complications from atherosclerosis, like a heart attack, like stroke.

Narrator: Inflammation from the mouth, that's in response to bacteria, may also get into the bloodstream.

Ryder: And products of inflammation have been shown to speed up the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels and a rupture, which can lead to a blockage.

Narrator: Ryder's advice? Brush and floss daily and visit your dentist twice a year. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.