February is heart health month. And since we’re nearing the end of it, I thought I’d talk to you today about one of the simplest things you can do to fight heart disease.
It’s a daily habit that I never recommend skipping: Brushing your teeth.
Fight heart disease at your bathroom sink
We’ve known about the link between oral hygiene and heart health for a while. But this latest study was particularly impressive.
Researchers recruited more than 160,000 subjects, all between the ages of 40 and 79, from the Korean National Health Insurance system. The goal was to examine the link between tooth brushing and two major cardiovascular killers: atrial fibrillation (the fancy term for irregular heartbeat) and heart failure.
All subjects received a routine medical examination between 2003 and 2004. So researchers had data on their height, weight, lab work, medical history, and lifestyle habits—including their oral hygiene routine.
And with over more than a decade of follow-up, the researcher found that subjects who brushed their teeth three or more times a day had a 10 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation—and a 12 percent lower risk of heart failure.
It’s also worth noting that these benefits were independent of a whole host of other factors—like age, sex, exercise habits, body mass index (BMI), and even comorbid conditions like high blood pressure.
A little oral hygiene goes a long way
Of course, this is an observational study. Which means it can’t prove that tooth brushing directly reduces heart risk. But there’s certainly a good case to be made for that conclusion.
Especially considering this is far from the first study to link oral health with cardiovascular health—gum disease has well-known links to both heart disease and diabetes, in particular. (And since inflammation is the common thread that runs through all disease, it’s hardly a surprise.)
But I must say, even I’m impressed by the difference a little extra dental hygiene made.
The bottom line? Your dentist might be satisfied with two brushes a day. But as a doctor, I recommend more. So keep your toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste handy…and brush after eating (or as often as you can)—at least three times a day.
P.S. For other ways to naturally protect your heart, and to help prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke—check out my Ultimate Heart Protection Protocol. Learn more about this comprehensive online learning tool by enrolling today. Click here now!
Chang Y, et al. “Improved oral hygiene care is associated with decreased risk of occurrence for atrial fibrillation and heart failure: A nationwide population-based cohort study.” Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2019 Dec 1:2047487319886018.