There is a clear link between gum disease and heart problems. Studies have shown that people who rarely brush their teeth have 70 percent more risk of suffering from heart disease compared with people who brush their teeth twice daily.

Good Oral Hygiene for a Healthier Heart

(Freeimages / Walter Groesel)

Studies conducted by the University College of London examined data collected from more than 11,000 people with an average age of 50. The experts analyzed their lifestyles, taking into account such factors as exercise, smoking habits, and brushing routines.

Participants in the study were asked about the frequency of their dental visits. They answered rarely/never, once or twice a year, or once every six months. They were also asked to identify how frequently they brushed their teeth: less than once a day, once a day, or twice a day. The participants’ medical histories were taken into consideration, including blood pressure, blood samples showing inflammation markers, and family history of heart disease.

Study Findings

Of the more than 11,000 participants in the studies, 62 percent saw their dentists once in six months. About 71 percent reported that they brushed their teeth twice a day. Follows-up were made during the next eight years to monitor the participants’ health trends. There were 555 cases of heart problems caused by heart disease, including heart attacks. Out of the 555 cases, 170 were fatal.

The experts found that those who rarely brushed their teeth were 70 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who brushed their teeth twice daily. The results took into consideration other factors, including smoking and obesity.

Poor Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease: A Link

The study established that when people don’t brush their teeth, the mouth becomes infected with bacteria that can cause inflammation. There is an established link between inflammation and an advanced risk of developing heart diseases. It was also noted that poor oral hygiene is closely associated with unhealthy habits such as poor diet and smoking.

Good oral hygiene is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Visiting your dentist every six months can help maintain good oral hygiene.