April 01, 2019

Tooth brushing reduces cardiovascular risks

Brushing your teeth twice daily is important for maintaining good oral hygiene. This daily routine can also benefit your heart.

A study presented at the 2018 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions provides new evidence of this link. The study's 682 participants self-reported their tooth-brushing habits compared with the recommendation of twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Over an average of 28 months of follow-up, those who reported brushing their teeth less frequently and for a shorter duration had three times the risk of a first major cardiovascular event than did those who met the tooth-brushing guidelines. These cardiovascular events included heart attack, stroke, hospitalization for heart failure or dying of a cardiovascular cause.

A separate study, published in the December 2018 issue of Hypertension, further endorses the link between oral health and cardiovascular disease. It found that gum (periodontal) disease appears to be associated with high blood pressure and also interferes with medications to treat this condition.

In addition to brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, Mayo Clinic experts recommend daily flossing and regular visits to your dentist. While brushing your teeth, you may want to set a timer or use an electric toothbrush that has a built-in two-minute timer to ensure you're spending enough time on this important step.