There are several risk factors for cardiovascular disease including smoking, obesity, family history and lack of exercise, but rarely has brushing your teeth less than twice a day been linked to heart disease…
A recent study found that brushing your teeth twice a day or for two minutes reduces the risk of heart disease. The researchers apparently asked 682 people about their tooth-brushing behaviour. After adjusting for various factors, they found that those who said they brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes, had a three-fold increased heart risk, compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes.
Dr Shogo Matsui, the study’s lead researcher, said the findings suggest “poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behaviour, is associated with” poorer heart health.
It’s possible that longer tooth brushing might reduce this risk, but the new study was not designed to prove cause-and-effect, said Matsui, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan.
Dr Ann Bolger, a cardiologist and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, agreed that the observational study had limitations.
“It is possible that people who are very attentive to their dental health are also very attentive to other aspects of their health,” said Bolger, who was not involved in the research.
Even so, Bolger said the science supports a potential connection between dental health and heart health. Gum disease is one of the diseases “where the body may be in a sort of continual state of inflammation, and this seems to be a very powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease.”
Pune365 took a local view on these research findings and gauges the opinion of city experts and informed citizens.
City-based Dentist Dr Dayanand Shirkhe opined, According to the American Dental Association, there is no conclusive evidence to believe that decayed teeth may lead to heart disease.
However, there are a few research studies that state that severe gum infection is associated with Heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Gum infections have bacteria present on the gums which may lead to blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke.
At an individual level, one can always practice good oral health at home and brushing two times a day is what we always recommend.
Replacing your toothbrush once in two months is advisable and Flossing once a day- it helps to remove the food stuck in between your teeth. And importantly, following a balanced diet, Shirkhe added.
Irrespective of the risks stated by the study, good oral hygiene is important for everyone, says Gaurav Tejpal, Web designer.
Adults most often skip brushing teeth twice a day and in my opinion, there is no relevance of linking teeth to heart disease. Like this, there was another study which stated that tooth decay affects the cornea!
Moreover, both these studies don’t have strong evidence though it is true that all dentists recommend regular brushing for good oral hygiene. This is not because of the cardiac risks associated with it, but rather to avoid decaying and infections, Tejpal added.
Jiya Shah, Developer says, “My oral hygiene is good but that is not because of the risks associated with it, but to prevent toothaches and infections that are real trouble.
Personally, I don’t think it depends on how many times you brush or how many minutes you brush. It is all associated with the food you consume. A good, healthy balanced diet will keep you protected from all such problems.
Avoiding food with complex carbohydrate and sugars will save you from tooth decaying too, Jiya added.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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