Could skipping a daily tooth brushing every now and again lead to a higher risk of heart problems such as cardiovascular disease? Looks like that’s the case.
While the American Heart Association supported statements showing the link between heart disease and gum disease all the way back in 2012, newer research appears to also reinforce this claim.
A study presented at an American Heart Association meeting in 2018 found, “those who said they brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes had a three-fold increased risk compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes.” (https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/11/07/bad-tooth-brushing-habits-tied-to-higher-heart-risk)
Other studies also show a link between poor oral hygiene and high blood pressure, as well as increased risk of infections that can cause other problems for the heart.
So what can you do to keep your heart and your teeth in tip-top shape?
- Brush twice per day for at least two minutes per day with a fluoride toothpaste. Try an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer if you’re not sure how long you’re brushing. Many of these new toothbrushes come with built-in cell phone apps that will not only keep you honest with your time-keeping but will also let you know if you are applying too much pressure while you’re brushing.
- Floss at least once per day. If you have a hard time with traditional floss or if you sometimes forget about flossing, you can use disposable floss picks when you are in a pinch.
- Maintain your regular, six-month dental appointments. A professional cleaning can not only clean up those hard to reach areas of your mouth but also help in diagnosing any dental problems that are just starting so you can begin treating them before they become a problem.
- Kick the soda habit. We know…easy to say, hard to do. Any steps you take to curbing your need for this dental time bomb will help not only your teeth but your overall health, too. Try slowly replacing each can of soda with a glass of water. If you absolutely must have your soda fix, drink that toothy terror quickly and then rinse your mouth with water to wash away as much sugar and acid as you can until your next brushing.
- Eat foods that nourish your body. A lifestyle high in vegetables, fruits, healthy proteins, and probiotics can help in not only keeping you looking lean but can also help your teeth stay healthy. For example, high-probiotic foods like a low-sugar yogurt can help fend off conditions like acid reflux that can work its way up your esophagus and damage your teeth.