Can Brushing Your Teeth Help Your Heart?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Everyone knows that good dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) is important for healthy teeth. But did you know that a healthy mouth might keep your heart healthy? It really can!

Researchers in the last few years have seen a connection between your teeth and your heart. And while there are many theories trying to explain that connection, it’s just one more reason to take care of your teeth.

The Connection

People with heart problems are more likely to also have dental problems. Not in every case, but often enough that researchers are beginning to study the possible link. It’s actually not the state of your teeth that is connected to your heart health; it’s the health of your gums.

Gum disease is usually caused by inadequate brushing and flossing, which allows bacteria to inflame your gums. When gum disease is mild, it’s called gingivitis and when it’s severe it becomes periodontal disease. Heart problems, such as stroke, heart disease, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are often associated with inflammation (not caused by inflammation, but seen at the same time).

Current Theories

Researchers and doctors are not exactly sure why many people who have heart problems also have dental problems. Some think that people who don’t worry about the health of their heart are also the same people who don’t take care of their teeth. Gum disease and heart disease can also be caused by the same behaviours, such as smoking.

As inflammation is seen in both diseases, there is some possibility that the inflammation is related. And since bacteria is found in both unhealthy gums and unhealthy hearts, it might have something to do with bacteria. However, there is no agreement about what might explain this connection – it is a rather new discovery, and it’ll take time to do the research to explain it. Also, just because you see two things at the same time does not mean there is a link between the two. Correlation (seeing two things at the same time) does not equal causation (one causes the other).

Dental Hygiene is Important

Regardless of what causes this connection, or why this connection exists, it is still important to take care of your whole body – including your mouth. Make sure to brush your teeth, twice a day for two minutes, floss every day, and see your dentist every six months for cleanings. If you do have gum disease, talk to your dentist about how it can impact the rest of your body, including your heart.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call Abougoush Family Dental Care or visit our office in Calgary.

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