Poor teeth-brushing habits can increase risk of developing cardiovascular diseases

The link between gum disease and heart attacks has long been known. The scary reality is that people with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease


A study found that people who brushed their teeth less than twice a day for less than two minutes had an increased risk for heart diseases.

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.

Taking care of your teeth isn’t a proven way to prevent heart disease. While there appears to be some connection between oral health and heart disease, more research is needed to fully understand it.

Still, many studies have shown a connection between gum disease (periodontitis) and other serious conditions, including heart disease.

Research suggests that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and that people with chronic gum disease have increased thickness of their neck blood vessels.

There is also a strong correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from professional teeth cleanings.

A separate study published last month in the journal Hypertension found that gum disease appears to worsen blood pressure and interferes with medications to treat hypertension.

Poor dental health also poses a risk to people with heart valve problems, Bolger said.

Dr Ann Bolger, a cardiologist and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “I spend an inordinate amount of time talking to (heart valve patients) about their teeth because we know certain heart valve infections can be associated with poor oral health.”

This latest research “is a good reminder that the mouth is an important part of a person’s entire health and simple, daily behaviours that improve health are incredibly important,” she added.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste.

“It’s a low-risk, low-cost option that we know has other benefits even beyond the scope of what this study is trying to investigate,” Bolger said. “There’s no reason not to recommend someone do this.”

Even though oral health isn’t a key to heart disease prevention, it’s important to take care of your teeth and gums:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss daily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months — or sooner if the bristles become bent.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

If you’re concerned about heart disease prevention, ask your doctor about proven ways to reduce your risk – such as stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

Source: Health 24