Could brushing your teeth help prevent heart disease?

brushing your teeth

How you brush your teeth can affect your general health

We’re all aware what happens if we fail to brush our pearly whites regularly; unsightly discolouration, bad breath, painful fillings. But, did you know that not brushing your teeth properly can cause serious health consequences for the rest of your body?

Our mouth is the entry point, and home, to millions of bacteria, both good and bad, but some of these bacteria can cause deadly infections, which is why our oral care can affect many other aspects of our general health.

Could your chronic disease have been prevented by a simple trip to the dentist? Or years of frustrating digestive issues be caused by poor dental hygiene? Could a premature baby have been born at full term if it wasn’t for a dental issue in Mum?

It’s certainly worth knowing what to look out for when it comes to the attention you should pay to brushing your teeth.

Dr Azad Eyrumlu states “our bodies are complex and various parts of our systems work closely with each other, even if we might not always realise it.”

For example, our cardiovascular, neurological and digestive systems are all intricately linked, so to take care of the body as a whole we need to be aware of how to take care of the small parts, and that includes our oral hygiene.

Here’s 6 surprising consequences of not brushing your teeth properly

Heart Disease or Stroke

Not taking care of your oral health can lead to gum disease, or periodontitis – nasty bacteria can get into the bloodstream causing severe inflammation and even clots – increasing the risk of developing heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke.

A significant study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that people who were brushing their teeth at least three times a day were less likely to experience atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

Dementia and Memory Loss

Dementia sufferers often experience a greater rate of dental decay, including cavities, gingivitis and tooth loss.

Research has shown that inflammatory dental conditions, such as periodontitis can also be linked to inflammation in the brain that can lead to brain cell loss and conditions, such as dementia. 

Pneumonia and other respiratory conditions

If you have an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth due to not brushing your teeth regularly, it’s possible to inhale the bacteria into your lungs, leading to respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Researchers reported that improving oral hygiene among hospital patients reduced cases of pneumonia by 40 percent!

Digestive Issues

The digestive process starts in the mouth; healthy teeth and gums help us to chew food properly, which leads to good digestion, giving the body nutrients it needs to function well.

Bad bacteria present in your saliva travels to your digestive tract when you swallow. This can cause an imbalance in your digestive system, and subsequently frustrating and painful digestive issues. Therefore, brushing your teeth well could provide the solution to years of agonising stomach complaints.


Dr Eyrumlu says, “…a mouth ulcer or impacted tooth can give nasty bacteria the perfect window to enter our bloodstreams…”

Untreated gum infections can result in a life-threatening condition called sepsis, where the body responds aggressively to blood poisoning and damages its own tissue, which can result in limb amputations, organ failure and even death.

Premature or low-weight births

One study showed women with severe gum disease were nearly twice as likely to have premature babies as women with no gum disease. Additionally, women with moderate to severe gum disease had a higher risk of a low-birth weight baby, pre-eclampsia or fetal distress during labour.

Aside from brushing your teeth routinely at home, a deep clean at the dentist can keep mild gingivitis from progressing and affecting you or your baby.

It’s never too late to start brushing your teeth better!

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with toothpastes containing fluoride, as well as regular flossing.
If you already have gum disease or are prone to cavities, experts advise you to visit the dentist more frequently – about every 4 months or so.

Other ways to improve your oral health include reducing the amount of sugar you consume and finding ways to remove bacteria from your mouth in-between meals such as rinsing with mouthwash or chewing sugar-free gum.

Even if you haven’t noticed any oral issues, your Dentist can spot a whole lot during a regular check-up, such as signs of anaemia, acid reflux, leukaemia and Crohn’s disease.

Preventative care is the most effective and affordable way to look after your dental and overall health, so remember to book your check-up and pick up that toothbrush, it could save your life!

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