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Does not brushing your teeth cause heart failure?

Your oral hygiene reflects the health of your body. Regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups prevent gum diseases and improve your overall health.

Chronic infection of the tooth and its supporting structures is known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease’s usual signs include gum bleeding with inflammation and gingivitis, infection, tartar in excess, decay, the recession of gum with bone loss and tooth mobility.There are few studies which do report periodontal diseases to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease irrespective of the socioeconomic status of an individual.

oral care and heart disease

There are few studies which do report periodontal diseases to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease irrespective of the socioeconomic status of an individual.

For long dental infections and tooth extractions have been thought to be a cause of cardiac tissue infection (infective endocarditis).

Recent studies implicate the role of chronic inflammation in coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of chronic inflammation markers are reported in periodontal disease and coronary heart disease as well. This possibly implicates an etiologic relationship between CHD and periodontal disease.

Recent studies do support the common factors relating to the mechanism of pathogenicity in both of these inflammatory diseases. Contrariwise, a positive relationship yet can’t be arrived at with lack of clinical data from large clinical trials.

The American Heart Association (AHA) reviewed 473 reports spanning from 1950 to 2011 which comprised of systematic reviews, clinical studies, animal studies and relevant publications. The AHA study said common causes for both periodontal disease and atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD) that could be responsible for a possible connection between them. Well-documented factors causing periodontal disease and ASVD include smoking, ageing, socioeconomic status, alcohol, race, obesity, male sex and diabetes.


Evidence suggests an association of periodontitis with increased risk of developing heart disease. The study also states that people with chronic gum disease have thickened neck vessels. A relation between diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and oral health also exists. Proper teeth cleaning is beneficial in diabetics.

While a link between poor oral hygiene and heart diseases is seen, more scientific studies are warranted to establish concrete relationships among the two. Oral health probably could be an overall indicator of one’s health care practices and personal hygiene.

Although oral health hasn’t been a crucial factor in preventing heart disease, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and take steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums. This can be achieved by:

  • Brushing teeth, twice daily
  • Flossing your teeth daily
  • Replacing your brushes once the bristles are bent or every three months whichever occurs earlier
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups

Consult a top Cardiologist

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  • Periodontal Disease and Coronary Heart Disease Incidence: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Gen Intern Med. 2008. 23(12):2079–86.
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