Heart disease is the biggest cause of death and disability worldwide. However, it can be prevented easily. During childhood, we are taught the value and importance of brushing our teeth. We are also taught why it should be a regular habit. Likewise, in a sense, we can also “brush” our hearts. We can consistently follow certain lifestyle choices and practise simple habits to ensure the health and functionality of our hearts.

The sticky film of bacteria and food particles that builds up on our teeth after we eat and drink is called plaque. The build-up of fatty deposits and cholesterol inside the artery walls is also known as plaque – the atherosclerotic plaque. Excessive plaque can cause arteries to get clogged, blocking blood flow. The plaque can also burst, forming blood clots, leading to heart attacks. We can remove the plaque in our arteries (or prevent it from even being produced) in a way similar to how we brush the plaque off our teeth.

By doing the right steps, we can maintain the “cleanliness” of our hearts in much the same way we maintain the cleanliness of our teeth every morning and night. There are three fundamental habits one can sustain in order to keep their heart robust. These include the following:

The chemicals in the toothpaste we use help in disengaging the plaque on the surface of our teeth, thus cleaning it. Similarly, a healthy, nutritious diet, especially one consisting of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables contains nutrients (chemical compounds) which help in removing atherosclerotic plaque.

We use a toothbrush with force to scrub our teeth with toothpaste, spreading its chemicals around, reaching all nooks and corners to exfoliate dental plaque. The movement of the toothbrush can be compared with physical exercise. Exercise has numerous benefits for the body and doing adequate exercise can improve heart health.

Lastly, we use water to rinse our mouths when we are done brushing, washing away the plaque in our mouth. Correspondingly, we can prevent plaque build-up in our arteries by doing activities which wash away our mental stress. There are multiple proven ways of reducing stress, such as exercise, meditation etc. Finding time to spend with family and friends and bonding with one another is a great way of eliminating stress. Doing things which make us laugh helps tremendously in reducing the tension in our lives, which indirectly enhances the health of our hearts.

All these sounds good, but will work only if we do it daily, just the same as we do for our teeth. So let’s make sure to include fresh fruits and vegetable in our food, exercise daily and find time to have fun with our friends and relations every day. Happy Brushing Your Heart!

Article Credits:
Dr. Anoop Lal, Medical Director, CareMithra
Rohan Panicker, Creative Writer, CareMithra