brushing teeth lowers risk of heart failure

Want to Stay Heart Healthy? Brush Your Teeth!

brushing teeth lowers risk of heart failure

Can brushing teeth help heart health? A recent study suggests it might.

Frequent brushing of teeth is linked with lower risks of atrial fibrillation and heart failure, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Previous research suggests that poor oral hygiene leads to bacteria in the blood, causing inflammation in the body. Inflammation increases the risks of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure (the heart’s ability to pump blood or relax and fill with blood is impaired). This study examined the connection between oral hygiene and occurrence of these two conditions.

Related: The Hypertensive Patient: Classification and Management

Designing an observational study

The retrospective cohort study enrolled 161,286 participants of the Korean National Health Insurance System. Participants aged 40 to 79 had no history of atrial fibrillation or heart failure. They underwent a routine medical examination between 2003 and 2004. Researchers collected information on height, weight, laboratory tests, illnesses, lifestyle, oral health, and oral hygiene behaviors.

Brushing teeth for heart health

Researchers associated tooth brushing three or more times a day with a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12% lower risk of heart failure during 10.5-year follow up. The findings were independent of a number of factors including age, sex, socioeconomic status, regular exercise, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and comorbidities such as hypertension.

Senior author Dr. Tae-Jin Song of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, noted that the analysis only examined data from one country. As an observational study, this does not prove causation. However, he also added: “We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings.”

It may be too early to start touting regular brushing as the key to preventing heart disease. But it’s one more reason to practice what was already a healthy habit.

SOURCE: Science Daily