Here’s some good news heading into the new year: Brushing and flossing can do more than keep your teeth healthy — it may save you from heart failure!
While the relationship between oral hygiene and your heart may seem completely unrelated, researchers say your dental routine may have a direct impact on your risk for developing heart problems down the road.
In a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers found that daily brushing and flossing is associated with lower risks of atrial fibrillation (Afib) and heart failure. In fact, the study found that tooth brushing three or more times per day was linked to a 10% lower risk of Afib and a 12% lower risk of heart failure—significant decreases!
This isn’t the first time a study has linked oral hygiene to heart health. Previous research has shown that poor oral health can lead to inflammation in the body. It happens in a chain reaction. Bad dental hygiene can lead to bacteria depositing in your bloodstream, and that bacteria triggers your body’s immune response. Next, inflammation ups the risk of other problems, including Afib and heart failure.
The researchers’ theory: Brushing your teeth frequently reduces bacteria in the space between your teeth and gums, so there is less of it to pass into the bloodstream and cause inflammation.
Should You Brush More Than Twice a Day?
The study found that brushing three or more times per day was associated with lower cardiovascular risks —but the authors say it’s too early to recommend brushing your teeth more often.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you brush twice per day. And your technique is important too. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- The type of toothbrush matters. Go for a soft-bristled brush, and make sure it’s a size and shape you can fit into all areas of your mouth with ease.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly. Set a reminder in your phone to replace your toothbrush every three or four months—or before that if the bristles are starting to fray.
- Use a quality toothpaste. Go for a toothpaste that’s ADA-accepted and is made with fluoride for the best results. You can search for ADA-accepted products on their website.
- Technique is key. When brushing your teeth, place the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. To hit the most surface area with each sweep, move the brush (gently!) back and forth across your teeth, rather than up and down. Make sure you brush all the surfaces of your tooth—outer, inner, and chewing surfaces for two minutes.
- Don’t forget to floss. Cleaning between your teeth is vital. Don’t skip flossing, since your brush can’t reach those tight spaces! A good guideline is to floss at least once a day.
And remember: Visit our office regularly (typically every six months) for a cleaning and checkup is a wise way to keep your oral health in check—and maybe even your heart health, too!
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.