February is American Heart Month, and we all know the basic recommendations for heart health – reduce your salt intake, exercise more, drink less alcohol, and quit smoking. But are there other ways to protect your heart? Some healthy habits that may not seem linked to heart disease can actually reduce your risk. Flossing – There is a strong link between dental health (specifically gum disease) and heart health. Although the exact reason has not yet been found, flossing helps keep your gums healthy and may protect your heart. Once a day is sufficient, when combined with brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. Eating healthy fats – For many years, we were told that all fats lead to obesity and heart disease. However, not all fats are created equal. Trans fat is the one to avoid, and is usually found in packaged foods such as cookies, crackers, or chips. Unsaturated fats, found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are heart-healthy foods when enjoyed in moderation. Getting up from your desk – Even if you exercise regularly, sitting all day at a desk job or watching several hours of TV each night still raises your risk for heart disease. Make sure to stand up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes every hour at work. If you watch TV at night, get up and move around during commercials.Together with diet, exercise, and quitting smoking, maintaining these habits might seem overwhelming. To increase your chance of sticking with it, start small – start with one habit, then add another one every week. It won’t be long before you’ll be on the road to a healthier heart!