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      Good dental health is more than just brushing and flossing

      Good dental health goes hand in hand with overall good health. There are things about your teeth and gums that can tell your dentist how the rest of your body is doing. In fact, your dentist may be able to tell if you're at high risk of having a heart attack.

      Good oral hygiene is more than just brushing and flossing daily. It also means not cancelling your cleaning appointments at the dentist. Dentists say you should have your teeth cleaned a minimum of twice a year, every six months. But it goes beyond just a regular cleaning. Your dentist will also check for things like cancers, tumors, and infections.

      Poor dental health doesn't necessarily cause disease. It does put you at an increased risk for developing it.

      â??You look at someone from a risk perspective,â?? explains Dr. Ted Fornetti. â??If they have all these things going on and they have problems going on in their mouth, you're much more concerned about them."

      According to Dr. Fornetti, heart disease is the biggest health issue that can be related to poor oral hygiene.

      During a routine cleaning, he looks at gum tissue. If gums bleed when you floss, it can put you at a high risk for having a heart attack. That's when the patient will be referred to their physician.

      â??By patients having a regular visit, we're able to see those things in X-rays, through clinical examination prior to them becoming big problems. We can catch them when they're small problems," Dr. Fornetti said.

      Some problems might not be caught because some people still fear visiting the dentist.

      Chuck Hynous of Iron River said he never experienced that fear.

      â??Dentistry today is very patient-friendly and very easy for the patient, I believe," said Hynous.

      â??Preventative dentistry' now can help avoid more serious procedures that'll hurt a lot worse the longer you wait.