Brushing teeth frequently, at least three times a day may lower risks of heart failure by more than 10 percent, a study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology has found.
According to previous research poor oral hygiene leads to bacteria in the blood, causing inflammation in the body, which increases the risks of heart problems: heart failure (the heart’s ability to pump blood or relax and fill with blood is impaired) and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). This study by scientists in South Korea examined the connection between oral hygiene and the occurrence of these two conditions.
In the study 161,286 people aged between 40 and 79 participants underwent a routine medical examination during a median follow-up of 10.5 years.
Results have shown 3.0% of participants developed atrial fibrillation and about 5% developed heart failure.
But, tooth brushing at list three times a day lower risk of atrial fibrillation by 10% and a 12% lower risk of heart failure during the years follow up.
The findings were independent of factors including age, sex, financial status, regular exercise, alcohol consumption, and body mass index.
One possibility that the study points out is frequent tooth brushing reduces bacteria living in the pocket between the teeth and gums, thereby preventing translocation to the bloodstream.
Senior study author Dr Tae-Jin Song, of Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, said: ‘We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings.’
Later he added: “It is certainly too early to recommend toothbrushing for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. However, the role of inflammation in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease is becoming more and more evident, intervention studies are needed to define strategies of public health importance.”