High blood pressure or hypertension affects nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States, totalling nearly 75 million Americans. What’s worse is that nearly one third of those 75 million may not know they have it, putting them at greater risk for stroke or heart attack. According to a new study conducted out of Buffalo University, however, if you currently have hypertension or are hoping to avoid it, there may be something pretty simple you can do: brush your teeth.

A study of more than 36,500 women found that those who had lost teeth due to poor dental hygiene, were more likely to develop hypertension than those who regularly brushed their teeth. Published in the American Journal of Hypertension, this study follows a slew of other research linking oral conditions like gum disease to hypertension, heart disease, and a whole mess of other nasty conditions. What’s the best method for preventing gum disease? It’s simply practicing correct oral hygiene.

Brushing Away High Blood Pressure

Brush Up on Your Brushing

If you think you’ve got a handle on your brushing: think again. According to a study conducted in Sweden tracking the brushing methods of individuals ages 15-80, nearly 25 percent of teenagers brushed incorrectly, along with 70 percent of adults. To properly brush will require two things: a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Start with a pea-sized amount, most adults use too much toothpaste, and get to work. Angle your brush 45 degrees and gently brush the gum line as well as the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth. Make sure to be careful not to brush too hard, and purchase “soft” bristle toothbrushes. Dental plaque is only the consistency of yogurt, and can be easily brushed away without force.

Make Sure to Floss

Brushing can only do half the work in keeping your mouth safe, the other half requires flossing. Although many tend to skip this part, it’s the only way to clear plaque from those hard-to-reach places like below the gumline. Proper flossing technique requires around 18 inches wrapped around the same finger on each hand. Gently glide this floss in-between each tooth, dipping below the gum line periodically. If your teeth frequently bleed, this may be an early sign of gum disease. Consider scheduling an appointment with your local dentist as soon as possible.

Check Ups and Cleanings Are a Must

Even the best oral hygiene routine needs some assistance, which is where check-ups and cleanings come into play. Dental plaque only takes between 24-48 hours to harden into tartar — which is why it’s suggested that you brush before going to bed and after waking up — and after this point, you’ll need a dental hygienist to remove the tartar. The American Dental Association suggests getting a check-up every six months to clean your teeth and to spot developing oral complications. Advanced gum disease, cavities, and other issues don’t develop overnight. Meeting regularly with your dentist can protect you against gum disease which may catch you off guard.

To learn what periodontal care and treatment is appropriate for you, please call (803) 781-9090 or contact Smile Columbia Dentistry today for an appointment at our Columbia, South Carolina office today.