Brush Your Teeth; Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

by Jodee on June 2, 2010

As a child, you were probably told that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Not only will doing to give you a nice smile, but it can lower your risk of developing heart disease.

Researchers have already connected the dots between gum disease and inflammation in other parts of the body, including the heart. The results of study published in the online version of the British Medical Journal points to good oral hygiene as a way to lower the risk of heart disease.

The researchers collected data from 1,100 adults in Scotland for analysis. The participants who reported brushing their teeth less often than twice a day had a 70 percent higher risk of heart disease than those who brushed more often. The risk factor was adjusted after taking other risk factors for the disease, including being overweight or obese, family history of coronary problems and smoking.

Gum Disease and Risk of Heart Disease

The link between gum disease and the likelihood of developing heart disease was discovered in the late 1980s. There are a couple of theories about why this may be the case. One of them is that bacteria in the mouth attaches itself to plaque in the coronary arteries. A buildup of plaque can block off the coronary artery, resulting in a heart attack.

The second theory about heart disease and dental issues concerns the swelling that accompanies periodontal disease. The inflammation may lead to a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, which causes the arteries to swell. If the blood flow to the heart is restricted by the swelling, the affected individual is at risk of having a heart attack.

See Your Dentist Regularly

To lower your risk of heart disease from gum disease, get a dental checkup every six months. Brush and floss your teeth as your dentist advises. If your dentist recommends follow-up care, make sure you keep your appointments and get appropriate treatment as suggested.

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