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How Oral Health Affects Your Heart Health

Did you know that your oral health is directly and closely related to your heart’s well-being?

If you didn’t, don’t feel bad about it as most people would never even imagine that the two are related. But yes, they are - and in a big way. New research from the American Heart Association shows that brushing your teeth at least twice a day significantly reduces your chances of developing heart diseases.

To come to that conclusion, the Association recruited 682 people and tracked their oral hygiene habits over several months. They found that participants who had stricter oral hygiene routines had very low chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases compared to those who had more lax regimens.

You’re probably wondering, how does oral hygiene intersect with heart health? Well, here’s how:

 

Poor Oral Hygiene Can Affect Your Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, a poor oral hygiene routine can make it worse and also affect your cardiovascular health. Past research shows that people who had hypertension were 20 percent less likely to attain a stable blood pressure reading if they also had gum disease and vice versa. Even more concerning, hypertensive patients were seen to be noticeably less responsive to medication if they had gum disease.

 

Oral Bacteria Harms Blood Vessels

A study by Harvard Health Publishing shows that oral bacteria release toxins that (in high concentrations) can flood a person’s arteries and veins and consequently increase the incidence and severity of blood clots. From the arteries and veins, the toxins may find their way into the bloodstream, which increases the chances of heart failures and strokes. 

Last but not least, gingivitis or swollen gums (usually caused by bacterial build-up) can aggravate the condition of a person suffering from asthma, periodontitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and any other condition that causes inflammation.

 

How to Keep Your Teeth and Thus Your Heart, Healthy

If you have a heart condition or are at an increased risk of getting one, your oral care habits need to be immaculate if you want to avoid further complications. And just to be clear, good oral hygiene goes above and beyond brushing your teeth several times a day. For one, you also need to floss them on a regular basis to flush out the tiny bacteria your toothbrush couldn’t reach. Remember, it is the unchecked accumulation of bacteria that causes inflammation and other gum and teeth problems.

Dentists also recommend using mouthwash on top of regular paste as a way of getting rid of bacteria that cause mouth odor. But no matter how effective both are, they can’t eliminate all the bacteria by themselves, which is why you also need to floss every now and then. Moreover, don’t forget to keep the amount of sugary food and drinks you consume at the absolute minimum. 

Observing all the oral health tips in the book will be pretty useless if you are constantly barraging your teeth with sugary acid. Above everything else, try to visit your dentist once in several months for checkups and more personalized advice.

 


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