Brush your teeth to protect your heart health

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In a recent study, researchers found that brushing teeth frequently is linked with lower risks of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

The research was conducted by a team at Ewha Woman’s University.

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 link between oral hygiene and the risks of these two heart conditions.

The team tested 161,286 participants of the Korean National Health Insurance System aged 40 to 79 with no history of irregular heartbeat or heart failure.

Participants underwent a routine medical examination between 2003 and 2004. Information was collected on height, weight, laboratory tests, illnesses, lifestyle, oral health, and oral hygiene behaviors.

During a follow-up of 10.5 years, 4,911 (3.0%) participants developed an irregular heartbeat and 7,971 (4.9%) developed heart failure.

The team found tooth brushing three or more times a day was linked to a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12% lower risk of heart failure.

The team says that one possibility is that frequent tooth brushing reduces bacteria in the subgingival biofilm (bacteria living in the pocket between the teeth and gums), thereby preventing translocation to the bloodstream.

While the role of inflammation in the occurrence of heart disease is becoming more and more evident, intervention studies are needed to define strategies of public health importance.

One author of the study is Dr. Tae-Jin Song.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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