Paying attention to your dental hygiene may pay you back with more than just a polished, healthy smile. It may keep your heart healthy, too!
A consensus report published in the Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology found these potential links between dental hygiene and heart health:
- Gum disease is a risk factor for coronary artery disease.
- A study of more than 50,000 people found that those with fewer teeth and gum disease had a higher risk of stroke.
- There may be a direct link between clogged arteries in the legs and gum disease.
- The bacteria we find in gum disease can also be found in blood vessels that are going through atherosclerosis.
- Inflammation is another common denominator for both diseases. When people have moderate to severe gum disease, it increases the risk of having a heart attack.
There is no proof that dental hygiene and heart health are related, but there are a number of ways to help keep your smile and heart healthy:
For a bright, healthy smile:
- Floss daily.
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months—or sooner if the bristles become bent.
For a healthy, beating heart:
- Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, try to quit.
- Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Control blood pressure.
- Practice relaxation methods, such as meditation or yoga.