Getting Down to the Heart of the Matter: How Oral Health Affects Your Heart

by on October 8th, 2010 at 7:00 am

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. The CDC reports that this year, heart disease will cost the U.S. over 3 billion dollars in health care services, medications and lost productivity. Every year, a whopping 785,000 Americans have their first heart attack, while another 470,000 who have already had one or more heart attacks have another attack.

Many of us know heart disease is serious, and those who have it can lower the risk of dying from it or needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty by lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure levels; however, there is another lesser known way to ward off a heart attack: by keeping your teeth clean!

Brushing your teeth twice a day helps cardiovascular health. A recent study showed that individuals who brush their teeth at least twice a day were at a lowered risk for a heart attack, while those who brushed only once a day or less were considered high-risk.

It may seem a little strange that poor oral hygiene may hinder heart health, but there seems to be a direct correlation between oral health and heart disease. Poor oral hygiene leads to gum disease, which may turn into inflammation, a contributor to heart disease. Researchers found elevated signs of inflammation in individuals who did not brush regularly, mainly C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein that rises in the blood in response to inflammation throughout the body.

Both the American Heart Association and the CDC published a joint scientific statement in 2003 after reviewing the evidence of the connection between CRP and coronary heart disease and stroke. Now, researchers are urging dentists to look out for oral infections in their patients since evidence shows that oral health directly affects the heart.

Follow these simple brushing guidelines for a healthier heart:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Hold the tooth brush tilted an angle of 45 degrees towards your gums
  • Clean the upper teeth first
  • Brush 3 teeth at a time, making your way around your whole mouth
  • Use a back and forth motion
  • Brush the gums gently to remove bacteria from lodged food
  • Brush the tongue

Oral-Assist relieves pain associated with tooth and gum abscesses, plus promotes oral health.

One Response to “Getting Down to the Heart of the Matter: How Oral Health Affects Your Heart”

  1. Nina K. H. Murphy

    Oct 4th, 2011

    I lost a gold crown while working out-of-state. I had this DDS replace crown and while under her care, I had cleaning, which discovered serious gum disease! We got aggressive with treatment, added lots of Vit C and mechanical care. Almost immediately, all arthritic pain in my
    hands and feet subsided (as well as swelling); I have noticed fewer headaches and face pain! Get on it, folks, and get aggressive with your own oral health care!! Your life will drastically improve!! Best regards, NKHM

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