Home Health Important bathroom habit that could slash risk for heart attack and stroke

Important bathroom habit that could slash risk for heart attack and stroke

Many of us are aware of the importance of having a good oral hygiene routine. Regularly brushing and flossing our teeth is vital for preventing tooth decay and bad breath.

However, not sticking to these habits could have even more serious consequences than we might realise.

According to one expert, not looking after our teeth and mouths could also raise our risk for high blood pressure.

This leaves us vulnerable to potentially fatal conditions and diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

In line with British Heart Week, which runs from June 7 to 15, an expert spoke with Express.co.uk to explain more.

Miranda Pascucci, dental hygienist for oral health brand TePe, revealed how not keeping your mouth in check can be dangerous for your heart.

“The connection between teeth and heart may not be an obvious one, but there are many ways in which looking after your dental health can directly impact your cardiovascular health,” she said.

“Poor oral hygiene and gum disease have been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke – it’s responsible for about 75,000 deaths a year in England alone.

“It’s also been linked to higher risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure – and it’s been proven that those with good oral health have a lower risk of these issues.”

How are they connected?

There are a couple of reasons why poor oral hygiene can impact the heart and circulatory system.

Miranda continued: “One explanation could be because bacteria from inflamed gums can travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body.

“Another could be that inflammation in the gums can trigger inflammation in the heart and brain’s blood vessels.

“So, it’s important to think about your oral health when improving your heart health; and just brushing doesn’t quite cut it.”

The same warning has been given by experts at Harvard Medical School, in the US.

On the school’s website, they explained: “People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.

“But there may not be a direct connection. Many people with heart disease have healthy gums, and not everyone with gum disease develops heart problems.

“Shared risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association.

“Still there’s a growing suspicion that gum disease may be an independent risk factor for heart disease.”

How to keep your teeth and heart healthy

To keep your mouth, and therefore heart, healthy Miranda shared the following advice:

  • Brush teeth for two minutes twice a day (once before bedtime) using a toothpaste containing fluoride
  • Clean between teeth once a day, using floss or interdental brushes
  • Spit instead of rinsing after brushing so you don’t wash away the beneficial ingredients in toothpaste like fluoride
  • Avoid using mouthwash straight after brushing as again, you’ll rinse away the benefits of toothpaste – use it after meals instead.
  • Have regular dental check-ups
  • Sip on water after meals to wash away debris and dilute acids.

Eating certain foods could also help. “Nutrition and diet can be a brilliant way to improve both your oral and heart health at the same time,” she added. “What we eat plays an important role in our ability to fight off gum disease.

“Nuts, including Brazil nuts and cashews, are great choices to encourage good oral health as they are great sources of phosphorus, which is beneficial for the teeth and gums.

“Peanuts contain calcium, which helps to strengthen the tooth’s enamel, as well as vitamin C, which helps to keep the connective tissue in the gums healthy and strong.

“Almonds are also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant which helps to reduce inflammation, fighting bacteria and boosting the immune system; helping both mouth and heart.”


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