Many people know that good oral hygiene is essential to avoid tooth decay and maintain healthy gums and a beautiful smile. But recently, there has been an increase in the number of studies connecting poor oral hygiene to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and vice versa.
A study performed by a team of researchers from the University of California found that women who get dental care tend to have a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular conditions by at least one-third!
The findings, which were based on a sample of 7,000 people aged between 44 and 88, did not reveal a similar benefit for men – only women.
Analysis of the Study
Even before these findings, there were numerous studies showing the connection between cardiovascular disease and oral hygiene. However, this one study, revealed the benefits of general dental care for women with regard to avoiding adverse cardiovascular conditions.
During the research period, the researchers followed the subjects over time while conducting biennial surveys to find out whether they had visited a dentist or dental hygienist, and whether they had experienced a stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, or angina during the prior two years.
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The analysis also took into consideration the effects of other risk factors such as body mass index, high blood pressure, and alcohol and tobacco use, and noted down any deaths resulting from heart conditions.
Implications of the Study and Similar Studies
Berkeley researchers stated that the difference in the benefit of good dental care in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease between men and women is because of differences in how the disease forms in the two genders.
Many studies support that heart disease is one of the leading causes of mortality among women, and the fact that good oral hygiene can reduce the prevalence has been received well.
The rationale behind the connection between good dental health and a healthy heart is that the bacteria responsible for gum disease and other dental problems can produce inflammatory response that is associated with heart attacks. With good oral hygiene, bacterial activity is drastically reduced, and since the risk of gum disease and sore gums is reduced, the bacteria cannot get into the bloodstream to cause inflammation.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health
Dentists recommend that you get at least two dental visits and cleanings every year. In between these sessions, you should exercise good oral hygiene practices, which include brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and eating healthy. 🙂