Can brushing my teeth prevent a heart attack?

February is American Heart Month, and while it might seem like oral health and heart health are not connected, this is not the case. Many studies have shown links between gum disease(periodontitis) and heart disease.

Now, this does not necessarily mean that bad oral health causes heart attacks. It means there is a correlation between the two. What does the correlation between oral health and heart health mean for us? Gum disease appears to worsen blood pressure and interferes with medications to treat hypertension. As well, certain heart valve infections can be associated with poor oral health. In addition, an overwhelming connection has been made between patients with good oral health and low heart attack rates.

If you notice bleeding gums, dental pain, or loose teeth, it might be a sign that your oral health is not optimal. So, what can you do to combat this risk? See your dentist twice a year! Make sure you provide the dentist with a complete medical history and a list of medications being taken. In addition, The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.