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Link between Brushing and Risk of Heart Attacks

link between brushing and risk of heart attacksGood brushing habits can keep your smile healthy, but recent research indicates that they may also help keep your heart healthy. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health evaluated more than 400 adults over a three-year period. They revealed that when oral bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream, they contribute to atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries. Atherosclerosis significantly increases a person’s risk of both heart attack and stroke.

Your mouth is naturally full of bacteria. Some of these bacteria can irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed and bleed. Bleeding allows up to 700 different types of oral bacteria to access the bloodstream. Once these bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can trigger an inflammatory response and increase the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day can help keep your gums healthy, which in turn can keep your heart healthy.

Most dental experts recommend brushing at least twice a day for about two minutes at a time. Brush each surface of your teeth using small, circular strokes or an electric toothbrush. Brush or scrape your tongue to get rid of bad breath-causing bacteria. After brushing, use floss to clean between your teeth and near the gumline to reduce even more oral bacteria. You can finish with a fluoride mouthwash if desired to further combat bacteria and bad breath. Give us a call today to schedule your next dental cleaning or to find out more.

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