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Posts for: February, 2019

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.

The new study, scheduled for presentation Saturday at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago, looked at whether a person's tooth-brushing habits were associated with their risk of having or dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.  

Researchers asked 682 people about their tooth-brushing behavior. After adjusting for various factors, they found that those who said they brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes had a three-fold increased heart risk, compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes.

The study's lead researcher said the findings suggest poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behavior, is associated with poorer heart health. It's possible that longer tooth brushing might reduce this risk, but the new study was not designed to prove cause-and-effect. 

The science supports a potential connection between dental health and heart health. Gum disease is one of the diseases where the body may be in a sort of continual state of inflammation, and this seems to be a very powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease.  

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 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 behaviors that improve health are incredibly important.

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.