Can brushing your teeth help save your heart? Studies show that improved gum health can reduce the risk of harmful plaque buildup in neck arteries.
According to US News, researchers found that as people’s gum health improved, the buildup of plaque in their arteries slowed. This narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and death.
The study included 420 adults who underwent tests to assess their gum health and plaque buildup in their neck (carotid) arteries. Over a follow-up of roughly three years, improvements in gum health and a reduction in the proportion of bacteria linked with gum infection (periodontal disease) was associated with a slower rate of plaque accumulation in the neck arteries.
Gum disease-related bacteria may contribute to atherosclerosis in a number of ways. For example, animal studies suggest that these bacteria may trigger inflammation associated with atherosclerosis.
In order to reduce the risk of gum disease, daily dental care and regular visits to your dentist are recommended. If you need to have your teeth or gums checked or if you are concerned about your heart in relation to your dental care, give Dr Brogdon a call. Our office would be glad to set up an appointment to discuss your dental needs.
Your heart might depend on it.
February is American Heart Month and part of having a healthy heart is having healthy teeth. Recent studies show that adults who had thorough dental cleanings may be somewhat less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than their peers who are less careful about oral hygiene.
According to Reuters.com:
But the study is in line with past research that has linked gum disease to an increased risk of heart disease, said lead researcher Dr. Zu-Yin Chen, a cardiology fellow at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. Since gum disease is caused by bacterial infection, researchers suspect that it may contribute to heart attacks or stroke by causing a chronic state of inflammation in blood vessels. And studies have shown that treating gum disease can cut the levels of inflammatory substances in the blood, Chen told Reuters Health in an email. Still, no one knows for sure whether a regular visit to your dentist can prevent a future heart attack.
Although these studies are still being researched, using good dental hygiene can help improve your health.
In recent years, researchers have connected the dots between inflammation in the gums and inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the heart. A study released online Friday in the British Medical Journal suggests that consistent brushing of the teeth may be a significant strategy to reduce the risk of heart disease.
So do your heart a favor, brush your teeth twice a day and set up an appointment with Dr. Brogdon to get a thorough dental cleaning. Not only your teeth, but your heart will thank you!