Dental Hygiene Habits Developed Early May Help Heart Later
It’s a domestic struggle unfolding nightly in millions of households across the nation: Parents nagging kids to brush their teeth, and kids retorting with something along the lines of “Don’t have a heart attack, Mom!” Well, actually Junior, it’s YOU who might be having the heart attack down the road if you fail to develop good dental hygiene habits as a child.
That’s the unavoidable conclusion of a fascinating study recently published in theBritish Medical Journal which compared dental hygiene and heart attacks among 11,869 middle-aged men and women. Of these, 71% brushed twice a day, 24% brushed once a day, and 5% rarely or never brushed at all! Compared to the conscientious brushers, the brush avoiders were 70% more likely to have suffered a cardiovascular event (e.g., heart attack) over the course of the eight-year study — while once-a-day brushers were at 30% increased risk (incidentally, 170 of the 555 attacks were fatal).
Lazy brushing habits may simply reflect an overall lackadaisical attitude toward one’s health — but it’s also true that dental neglect can aggravate inflammation, which significantly contributes to heart disease. If you’re among the ranks of the non-brushing public, do your heart (and folks around you) a favor by flossing and brushing twice a day, and maintaining a healthy weight, as excess pounds can triple your risk of periodontal disease as well as your odds of having bad breath.
Bonus: Did you know raisins could actually help you prevent cavities and gum disease, thanks to phytochemicals that suppress bacterial growth? Also try tea to fight tooth decay.