Who would have thought that your dentist would be telling you how to help prevent heart disease? It’s commonly known that smoking, a poor diet, lack of exercise, and an uncontrolled weight can impact your heart. However, did you know that brushing your teeth is linked with maintaining a healthy heart? Research published in Scotland revealed that brushing your teeth can lower your risk of experiencing a heart attack or other issues impacting your heart.
Heart disease is a serious problem that unfortunately impacts a lot of people. According to the American Heart Association, about 2,600 people in the United States die each day from a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. The study looked at approximately 12,000 women and men and observed their oral health habits, daily exercise, and smoking habits. About 60% of the individuals reported seeing a dentist every 6 months, and approximately 70% reported brushing their teeth two times each day. Those who stated brushing their teeth less often were found to have a 70% increased risk of heart disease and had increased amounts of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, which are found in the blood indicating inflammation. Inflammation is a significant finding related to poor oral hygiene and atherosclerosis (accumulation of fat substances around artery walls). Periodontal disease, which is a chronic condition impacting the gums and tissues around teeth, is a result of poor oral hygiene and adds to the inflammatory response. Some signs of periodontal disease include red and swollen gums, bleeding gums when eating or brushing and flossing, pus or infection around gums, poor taste in your mouth, and loose teeth.
The American Heart Association also conducted a recent study analyzing brushing frequency in 682 participants and the link to heart disease risk. Those who stated brushing their teeth less than two times a day for less than two minutes had a 3 times higher risk of developing heart disease than those brushing for the recommended two times a day for 2 minutes or more. More research is needed to determine whether or not the link is a cause and effect relationship.
Practicing good oral hygiene habits and scheduling regular dental visits can help not only keep your smile healthy but also help keep your heart and overall health in check.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.