Sir William Osler famously said, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” As we trend toward increasing specialization in medicine that gives us a specialist for every one of our organs, we make amazing advances in our ability to treat diseases while unfortunately losing sight of the patients who have those diseases. We are not just a collection of body parts; we are an interconnected whole. That’s why your cardiologist should look in your mouth. Read this article to learn why…
Doing THIS for Two Minutes Slashes Heart Disease Risk
There are a lot of good hygiene and health practices that should be done on a regular and even daily basis like drink water, exercise, eat a wholesome diet and so on. Top on this list is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth not only reduces the risk of cavities and oral problems but according to a recent study this twice a day healthy habit could protect you from dying from heart disease.
The link between heart disease and periodontal disease is one that research has previously uncovered. Periodontal disease is a condition that involves gum inflammation, infection, and tooth damage.
This most recent study examined if teeth brushing habits were linked to the risk of dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Tooth brushing habits of 682 people were reviewed in the study led by Dr. Shogo Matsui. It was discovered that persons who brushed their teeth less than twice a day for fewer than two minutes had a 3x greater risk dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke when compared to those who said they did brush their teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
Poor oral hygiene is connected to poor heart health
Researchers noted that the findings indicate that “poor” oral health ( based on brushing habits), is associated with “poorer” heart health.
Dr. Ann Bolger, a cardiologist, and professor of medicine emeritus at the Universty of California, San Francisco, weighed in on the findings. Bolger, who was not involved in the study noted that the observational study had limitations. According to Bolger, people who are attentive to their oral hygiene may also be attentive to other aspects of their health which could lower the risk of heart issues. She did recognize the link between gum disease and heart disease due to the fact that gum disease is representative of a body overrun with inflammation which is also a strong precursor to heart conditions.
More supportive research
A non-related study published in October 2018 in the AHA journal Hypertension, revealed that gum disease appears to worsen blood pressure and can get in the way of hypertension medicine.
Bolger also noted that poor dental health poses a risk for people who already have heart valve problems,
“I spend an inordinate amount of time talking to (heart valve patients) about their teeth because we know certain heart valve infections can be associated with poor oral health,” she said. This latest research “is a good reminder that the mouth is an important part of a person’s entire health and simple, daily behaviors that improve health are incredibly important.”
Good oral hygiene practices to follow
According to the American Dental Association, we should brush our teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Here are some other good oral hygiene practices to follow:
- Use the right size toothbrush for your mouth – don’t get one with a large scrubbing head if your mouth is small
- Soft bristles are better than hard bristles
- Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Brush with short side to side strokes covering all teeth surfaces
- Brush for two to three minutes
- Floss correctly and daily
- Allow toothbrushes to air dry away from each other in between brushings
- Replace your toothbrush once every three months
- Eat a healthy diet and limit processed and sugary food and drink
- Visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and a checkup
-The UpWellness Team