Brush your teeth twice daily 'to avoid heart disease'

Brush your teeth twice daily 'to avoid heart disease'

A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that those who don't brush their teeth regularly are 70 percent more likely to develop heart disease than those who're conscientious about cleaning their teeth morning and night.

"Our results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of (heart) disease," Professor Richard Watt of University College London, who led the study, said.

The study looked at data on more than 11,000 adults. All the subjects were asked about their lifestyle behaviours, including how often they brushed their teeth.
Nurses also took information on medical history and family history of heart disease as well as blood pressure levels and blood samples. The subjects were then followed for an average of eight years.

Of those involved, just over six out of 10 visited their dentist every six months while 71 per cent said they brushed their teeth twice a day. During the following eight years, there were 555 examples of serious heart problems including heart attacks. Of these, 170 were fatal.

The researchers found that those who never or only rarely brushed their teeth were 70 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease than those who brushed twice a day.
However, the researchers are not sure why gum disease triggers a bigger immune response than when other parts of the body are injured or inflamed.

"Future experimental studies will be needed to confirm whether the observed association between oral health behaviour and cardiovascular disease is in fact causal or merely a risk marker," Watt said.

Experts have welcomed the findings.
Judy O'Sullivan, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, was quoted by the 'Daily Express' as saying, "If you don't brush your teeth, your mouth can become infected with bacteria which can cause inflammation.

"It is already known that there is a link between inflammation and a higher risk of developing heart disease. However, it is complicated by the fact that poor oral hygiene is often associated with other well known risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking and poor diet."

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