Study links oral hygiene to heart health

Photo: CentralITAlliance/iStockphoto

Chicago — Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, new research presented by the American Heart Association suggests.

After surveying 682 people about their brushing habits, researchers determined that not following oral hygiene guidelines increased three-fold the risk of having or dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

“Poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behavior, is associated with (poorer heart health),” lead researcher Shogo Matsui, of the Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan, said in a Nov. 7 press release from AHA.

The release highlights a separate study – published Oct. 22 in the AHA journal Hypertension – in which researchers found that gum disease appears to increase blood pressure and may negatively interfere with medications designed to treat hypertension.

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,” Ann Bolger, a cardiologist and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, said in the release.

AHA announced the new study results Nov. 10 at its Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago.



Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)

James Cade
January 25, 2019
Although I am not disputing your results, people who brush daily are more likely to take better care of there physical health reducing the risk of heart disease. So many studies related periodontal health to heart disease, but general care for physical health and diet are not addressed. Thanks for this opportunity to express this thought.

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Healthy Lifestyle
Adult health
Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics
Think you know everything about proper brushing and flossing techniques? Understand the basics and what you can do to promote oral health.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Your smile and your overall health depend on simple dental care habits, such as brushing and flossing. But are you using the right techniques? Follow these steps to protect your oral health.
Brushing for oral health
Oral health begins with clean teeth. Keeping the area where your teeth meet your gums clean can prevent gum disease, while keeping your tooth surfaces clean can help you stave off cavities and gum disease.
Consider these brushing basics:
Brush your teeth twice a day. When you brush, don't rush. Take about two minutes to do a thorough job. Don't brush right after eating, especially if you had something acidic such as grapefruit or soda. Don't forget to clean your tongue, which harbors bacteria, with a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
Use the proper equipment. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably. Consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush, which can reduce plaque and a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) more than does manual brushing. These devices are also helpful if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively.
Practice good technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle — aiming the bristles toward the area where your tooth meets your gum. Gently brush with circular short back-and-forth motions. Brushing too hard or with hard bristles can hurt your gums.
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Brush your teeth for two minutes. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.
Keep your equipment clean. Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. Store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air-dry until using it again.
Try to keep it separate from other toothbrushes in the same holder to prevent cross-contamination. Don't routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers, which can encourage the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast.
Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush every three months — or sooner if the bristles flay or become irregular.
Flossing for oral health
You can't reach the bacteria in the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum line with a toothbrush. That's why daily flossing is important. When you floss:
Don't skimp. Break off about 18 inches (46 centimeters) of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger on the other hand. Grip the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Be gentle. Guide the floss between your teeth using a rubbing motion. Don't snap the floss into your gums. When the floss reaches your gum line, curve it against one tooth, making a c shape.
Take it one tooth at a time. Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Use the floss to gently rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion. Unwind fresh floss as you progress to the rest of your teeth.
Keep it up. If you find it hard to handle floss, use an interdental cleaner — such as a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser, tiny brushes that reach between teeth, a water flosser, or wooden or silicone wedge plaque remover.
As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn't matter if you brush or floss first.
Other oral health care tips
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, consider using mouthwash containing fluoride to promote oral health.
Also, resist the temptation to use toothpicks or other objects that could injure your gums and let in bacteria. If you smoke, try to quit. Using tobacco increases your risk of many diseases, including gum disease and tooth loss.
When to see the dentist
To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular dental cleanings and exams that include X-rays. In the meantime, contact your dentist if you notice any signs or symptoms that could suggest oral health problems, such as:
Red, tender or swollen gums
Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
Gums that begin pulling away from your teeth
Loose permanent teeth
Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold
Persistent bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
Painful chewing
Remember, early detection and treatment of problems with your gums, teeth and mouth can help ensure a lifetime of good oral health.
June 06, 2019
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Dental floss vs. water pick
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Oral health: A window to your overall health
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Did You Know?
Interesting Facts about Teeth and Dentistry
The average American spends 38.5 total days brushing their teeth over a lifetime.
People who drink 3 or more glasses of soda each day have 62% more tooth decay, fillings and tooth loss than others. Put down the pop and sports drinks and pick up some nice fresh water instead.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. However, we do not recommend that you use your pearly whites to open bottle caps!
If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 40% of your tooth surfaces. Make sure you brush and floss twice a day!
If you're right handed, you will chew your food on your right side. If you're left handed, you will tend to chew your food on your left side.
Every year, kids in North America spend close to half a million dollars on chewing gum.
More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones.
Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different
The average woman smiles 62 times a day. The average man smiles about 8 times a day.
Kids laugh around 400 times a day, adults just 15 times a day.
Giraffes only have bottom teeth.
Just like finger prints, tooth prints are unique to each individual.
The average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds a day, the recommended amount of time is 2-3 minutes.
78% of Americans have had at least 1 cavity by age 17.
1882 was the year commercial floss was first manufactured.
The most valuable tooth belonged to Sir Isaac Newton. In 1816 one of his teeth was sold in London for $3,633, or in today's terms $35,700. The tooth was set in a ring! (source: Guinness World Records 2002).
More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque.
Dogs have 42 teeth, cats have 30 teeth, pigs have 44 teeth, and an armadillo has 104 teeth.
A snail's mouth is no larger than the head of a pin, but it can have over 25,000 teeth!
The elephant grinds its molars and grows new ones. This happens six times in a lifetime! An elephant's molar is about 7 inches square and can weigh over 6 pounds
The Blue Whale is the largest mammal on earth, but it eats only tiny shrimp because it has no teeth.
The Crocodile Bird flies into the open mouth of a crocodile and cleans the crocodile's teeth!
There are 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in a single can of soda.
Interesting Facts about Dental History
In 1866, Lucy Beaman Hobbs became the first licensed female dentist.
In 1986, the winner of the National Spelling Bee won by spelling ODONTALGIA (which means toothache)
The average amount of money left by the tooth fairy in 1950 was 25 cents. In 1988 it was $1.00, the going rate now is $2.00.
The earliest dentist known by name is Hesi-Re. He lived in Egypt over 5,000 years ago.
The first toothbrushes were tree twigs. Chewing on the tips of the twigs spread out the fibers, which were then used to clean the teeth.
Ancient Greeks used pumice, talc, alabaster, coral powder or iron rust as toothpaste.
George Washington never had wooden teeth. His dentures were made from gold, hippopotamus tusk, elephant ivory and human teeth!
In 1905, Dental Assistant Irene Newman was trained to clean teeth. She became the first Dental Hygienist.