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Heartwarming Smiles Campaign Launched

Recently, WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, partnered with Colgate-Palmolive to launch Heartwarming Smiles, an initiative to help educate women throughout the U.S. about the impact proper oral care can have on their heart health.

Heartwarming Smiles will focus on empowering women by providing the knowledge and tools needed to make positive lifestyle changes to help reduce their risk of heart disease. The campaign’s online resource, www.womenheart.org/ourPartners/heartwarmingsmiles.cfm, is specifically designed to encourage women to talk with their physician to discuss their overall health and the simple changes they can make to help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve their oral care.

So, what inspired the Heartwarming Smiles Campaign? If you’re a dentist or physician, you know that poor oral health, specifically gum disease, may impact heart health. More and more research is suggesting a link between the two. However, the general public is largely unaware of this connection. It’s no surprise that this is the case, as evidenced by a recent national survey that found:

  • More than half (53%) of Americans with primary care physicians report that they never discuss their oral health during appointments with them.
  • More than one in three (35%) Americans visiting dentists regularly say that they never discuss any non-dental medical issues during their dentist visits.

“Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, it is increasingly important that patients take the initiative to establish open lines of communication with their doctors and dentists,” said Elizabeth Klodas, M.D., F.A.C.C., President, Preventive Cardiology Consultants (Edina, Minnesota). “Patients need to inform their physicians and dentists of any major oral health issues or heart conditions they may have to ensure optimal care. Patients should ask about measures available that may help improve their overall health, like using Colgate Total, an antibacterial toothpaste that fights plaque and gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.”

So, what’s the takeaway here for dentists and primary care physicians? Talk to your patients. If your a dentist don’t take the approach that medical issues unrelated to your patients oral hygiene is not your concern. The same goes for physicians – don’t neglect to talk with your patients about oral hygiene issues. This information can only help you to perform your job better and better serve your patients.

For more information about the Heartwarming Smiles Campaign, or to access tools to educate your female patients about the oral hygiene/heart health link, visit womenheart.org.

Reader Comments

  1. Comment Arrow

    Many people don’t really realize just how much is effected from having poor teeth. It can trickle down through a person’s body into other areas.


  2. Swampscott dentist January 12th

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    Thanks for bringing more attention to this topic – not recognized enough, though studies have pointed out the connection for quite some time, say, 1985:

    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/summary/139/3/232


  3. Comment Arrow

    Great campaign! How does this campaign involved physicians.


  4. Sarah August 3rd

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    What a great campaign!


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