Bad Tooth-Brushing Habits Tied to Higher Heart Risk
Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes may lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, a new study suggests.
Previous studies have found a link between heart disease and periodontal disease – a condition marked by gum infection, gum inflammation, and tooth damage. The new study looked at whether a person’s tooth-brushing habits were associated with their risk of having or dying from a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.
Researchers asked 682 people about their tooth-brushing behavior. After adjusting for various factors, they found that those who said they brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes had a three-fold increased risk compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes.
The findings suggest poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behavior, is associated with poorer heart health. It’s possible that longer tooth brushing might reduce this risk. Science supports a potential connection between dental health and heart health. Gum disease is one of the diseases where the body may be in a sort of continual state of inflammation, and this seems to be a very powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease.
More and more cardiologists are recommending to heart patients that they be diligent about their oral health. It is a good reminder that the mouth is an important part of a person’s entire health, and simple, daily behaviors that improve health are incredibly important.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Appropriate toothpaste is a low-risk, low-cost option that has other benefits even beyond heart health.