If you’re keeping your heart health in mind, be sure to remember to brush your teeth! Good dental hygiene can protect you from cardiac conditions like irregular heartbeat and heart failure by 10-12%–making it very worth those extra few minutes a day.
A study released by the European Society of Cardiology earlier this month added to the consensus among cardiologists that dental hygiene goes hand-in-hand with heart health. The buildup of bacteria in the mouth increases overall body inflammation which causes many cardiac conditions.
You might be wondering how bacteria in the mouth can make its way all the way to the heart, and the answer is in the transportation of the bacteria in the bloodstream. Brushing your teeth at least twice reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth by disrupting the biofilm between the teeth and the gums. The study found that brushing 3 or more times daily can decrease the risk of irregular heartbeat (also called atrial fibrillation) by 10% and reduced risk of heart failure (which is defined as the inability of the heart to pump, fill, and relax properly) by an impressive 12%.
The study followed its participants over a 10.5 year period, which makes a solid case for keeping track of dental and oral hygiene as a method to improve overall health. The participants were healthy adults aged between 40-79 years old, and the study determined that the risk reduction which was discovered was independent of other disease factors such as exercise, body mass index, and other factors, such as high blood pressure.
Chang, Yoonkyung, et al. “Improved Oral Hygiene Care Is Associated with Decreased Risk of Occurrence for Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study.” 1 Dec. 2019, doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/2047487319886018.