Preventing Heart Disease: An Easy Fix

 Close up portrait of cute girl brushing teeth.

 

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of heart disease is to spend a couple minutes per day taking care of your teeth.   However, most of us hate doing this,   even though it takes less time and effort than diet and exercise. Yet, so few of us follow this recommendation. Perhaps the few shortcuts listed below will help you boost your oral hygiene and as a result your heart health.  
 
 

Research

 

Several studies have shown that periodontal disease is associated with heart disease.1

 

Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. 1

 

Loss of teeth and bleeding gums are associated with increased risk for heart attacks (European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, published online Apr 10, 2014).The patients who retained more of their teeth had significantly lower risk factors for heart attacks…2

 

The American Academy of Periodontology reports that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. Likewise, in a study of 657 heart-disease patients published in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association,” lead researcher Moise Desvarieux, M.D., Ph.D. of Columbia University discovered that patients with harmful bacteria in their mouths were more likely to have a clogged artery in their neck, a precursor to stroke. 3

 

Inflammation is a stronger predictor of heart attacks than cholesterol, and inflammation is often caused by infection. If you have infected gums, a check with your dentist could save your life.4

 

85% of heart attack patients had periodontal disease, while only 29 percent of healthy people have it. 5

 

P.S.

 

There are some objections to growing evidence that poor dental hygiene leads to heart disease. It suggests that the cause and effect is reversed, i.e., heart disease could cause gum disease instead of the reverse.   But, I would rather err of the side of caution and have good dental hygiene. Besides, your beautiful smile is always a plus.  

 

Easy Fix

 

In addition to regular brushing and flossing a few times per day you can also do the following things:

 

Oil Pulling

 

“Scientists found that coconut oil which had been treated with enzymes stopped the growth of Streptococcus bacteria – a major cause of tooth decay.

 

…the Irish researchers say that coconut oil also attacks the yeast which causes thrush.

 

… It also attacked Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium which is a major cause of tooth decay”. 6

 

Oil pulling is a simple process of rinsing your mouth with coconut oil as if you were using a mouthwash. It is recommended to ‘rinse’ your mouth with a few grams of oil for 2 – 5 minutes or longer if you can. Do not swallow this oil after you finish pulling, it is full of bacteria. Don’t spit it in you sink ether if you don’t want to clog your sink.   You can spit the oil into a couple of tissues and drop it in the garbage.

 

Although you can do oil pulling at any time of the day, it is recommended to do it first thing in the morning followed by brushing.

 

As a bonus, oil pulling often completely eliminates bad breath. At the very least, it will dramatically reduce bad breath after a week or so of oil pulling. And it should stay this way as long as you continue pulling.

 

Waterpik

 

Waterpik is a device that shoots a water jet between your teeth removing food particles.   Although Waterpik can’t completely replace flossing, it does an excellent job when used in combination with daily brushing and flossing. In fact this is one of my favourite daily rituals, Waterpik shoots very powerful water jet and leaves your mouth feeling supper clean.

 

Electric Toothbrush

 

Although all electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual brushing, the Waterpik toothbrush is my favourite. It is incredibly powerful and therefore does an amazing job.

 

Natural Dental Tape

 

Dental tape is a wide dental floss, it glides better and it is more effective at removing unwanted particles from between your teeth.   Natural dental floss has natural oils and waxes, it leaves your mouth fresh and free of chemicals. I use Dessert Essence dental tape. 

 

Conventional floss is made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), an ingredient that also provides the coating in non-stick cookware such as Teflon, which is a huge concern for our health and the environment.

 

Mouthwash

 

Avoid Conventional Mouthwash:

 

Research shows that using conventional mouthwash may raise your blood pressure. 7 Fortunately there are many alternatives, you can find them in natural/health food stores.   Tom’s of Maine is my favourite.  

 

DIY mouthwash

 

This is a cheap, easy and fast way to make your own mouthwash. Although not as perfect as store bought, it is still pretty good.

 

Recipe:

 

You need:

 A small container or mason jar

1 cup filtered or distilled water

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xylitol sugar

2 drops peppermint essential oil*

 

*In addition to peppermint oil, the original recipe suggests adding 2 drops of tea tree oil, I am not a big fan of tea tree oil, but if you like it, add a drop or two.

 

Mix all ingredients together and you are done. Shake the mouthwash before each use then swish it in your mouth for a minute or two. As with any mouthwash, avoid swallowing.

 

Source: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-mouthwash/ I modified the recipe a bit to my taste.  

 

Salt water

 

When I was about 10 years old my father, who was an avid reader, shared a new scientific finding with me. Researchers found a common thread in certain people who were 80 years old and older, they had no cavities and no gum disease. Turned out, an eighteenth century educational institution required that all attending students rinse their mouths with salt water after each food intake, a habit that they maintained for the rest of their lives. Not only did they have very few cavities and no gum disease, they also lived longer and were overall healthier than most people their age.

 

There are many people who suggest that a salt water solution can replace mouthwash. I use both.

 

How to Make a Salt Water Mouth Rinse:

 

Make a solution of room temperature distilled, purified or boiled water and salt. I use about 1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt per cup of warm water. You can make it less or more salty, adjust it to your liking it should taste like an ocean or seawater.

 

In Addition

 

Diet

 

Dr. Weston A. Price, dentist, completed an extensive study showing how the modern diet, causes tooth decay and by extension decline in overall health. You can find a lot of great information on his site:  http://www.westonaprice.org

 

Exercise

 

Regular exercise and staying active is a solution to many ailments including heart disease.  

 

In addition it puts you in a better mood and gives you vital energy.  

Avoid/Reduce Stress

There are many ways to reduce stress – yoga, meditation and exercise are one of the top tools. Taking time for your self and spending time with family, being in nature and practicing gratitude are also very effective.

 

Adequate Sleep

 

More on the importance of sleep here: 10 Reasons Why You Need To Sleep

 

If your have any comments or suggestions please post them below.

 

Note: I may earn a small commission if you purchase the products mentioned in this article. I only recommend products I would use myself.  Besides, the products won’t cost you more and your purchase helps support this site and my ongoing research.

 

References:

 

1 http://www.perio.org/consumer/heart_disease

 

2 http://drmirkin.com/morehealth/gum-disease-increased-risk-for-heart-attacks-mouth-cancer.html

 

3 http://m.ksbw.com/Gum-disease-can-lead-to-bacteria-in-arteries/6150386

 

4 http://drmirkin.com/heart/2015.html

 

5 http://drmirkin.com/heart/8745.html

 

6 http://www.bbc.com/news/health-19435442

 

7 http://drmirkin.com/heart/mouthwashes-raise-blood-pressure.html

 

 

Additional Sources:

 

http://www.westonaprice.org

http://www.perio.org/consumer/heart_disease

http://drmirkin.com/

 

 

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