Brushing Prevents Heart Attacks
Can Brushing Your Teeth Prevent A Heart Attack?
Everyone knows that regular brushing and flossing of your teeth (mornings, evenings and after meals) helps your smile to be healthy and white by preventing cavities and plaque buildup, but did you know that brushing your teeth regularly may also help you avoid a heart attack or stroke? Research shows that it very well might.
Tooth decay is one of the world’s most common health problems, as well as being one of the most easily avoided through simple maintenance. The most common cases of tooth decay are in children and young adults who have not developed a habit of brushing their teeth and consistently eat sugary or acidic foods like candy and soda, and the condition happens from a bacterial infection of teeth and gums. The problem occurs when our teeth are frequently exposed to foods containing carbohydrates such as starches and sugars, so avoiding the obvious ones like candy and cake will help, but there are even less obvious ones like sticky fruits that will contribute as well. This is why avoiding the foods is not enough, and must be combined with regular brushing.
Regular brushing of your teeth not only tends to provide protection against tooth decay and gum disease but may also help to protect you against the future development of heart disease. Research from numerous sources like the University of Kiel suggest that the regular brushing of your teeth is associated with a reduced risk of future heart attack when compared to people who brush their teeth less often. These studies find there to be a possible link between gum disease and an increased likelihood of heart attack or stroke. We at Absolute Dental maintain that these findings will not only help to save lives, but prevent basic tooth decay as well.
Research has suggested that the body’s own immune system may “overreact” in certain patients to the threat of gum disease by attacking the bacteria responsible for the tooth decay. This may sound positive on the surface, but some people’s immune systems also cross-react and destroy their body’s own “protective cells,” the ones that help to keep a disease called “atherosclerosis” from developing. What this means is that the build up of bacteria in your mouth that causes gum disease could lead to the development of atherosclerosis. This disease is commonly known as “hardening of the arteries,” and is thought to be the primary cause of heart attacks in people. This condition is the buildup of material within your arteries, which causes their constriction and potential complete blockage, which leads to restricted blood flow to the heart or brain, and therefore potentially a heart attack or stroke.
While this research is not yet completely proven, and is only speculative, the doctors at Absolute Dental believe that the potential benefits to habitually maintaining one’s teeth through brushing and flossing cannot have negative effects, and is therefore recommended whether it is proven or not to reduce heart attacks and strokes. The research could be potentially describing people who would be more likely to watch their diet, take their prescribed medications, see their doctor more regularly, and have a healthier lifestyle, all of which are beneficial if heart problems are avoided or not. Additionally, other risk factors for heart disease like smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol can not be increased by the regular brushing of one’s teeth, so there is no reason to avoid it.
The doctors at Absolute Dental urge you to brush and floss daily, avoid foods and behaviors that potentially increase risks, and see your dentist regularly for a checkup. Your teeth will be healthier and your smile will be brighter. If you can help avoid a heart attack or stroke in the process, it just makes sense.
Please also look for our article on the potential relationship between Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) and Periodontal Disease.