Oral Health Group

To prevent heart disease — brush your teeth frequently!


June 24, 2015
by Kahaliah Richards

Partners In Prevention 1A Scottish study of over 11,000 adults tracked over 8 years found that frequent brushing of the teeth significantly lowered the risks of having a coronary event (e.g. heart attack).

This association allowed for other risk factors for heart disease such as socio-economic status, obesity and family history. Note that participants who did not brush often, had markers of inflammation in their blood samples.

Cause or effect? For sure, more research needs to be done but note that this isn’t the first time a longitudinal study found that oral health was a major risk factor for heart health. A few years ago, the A.R.I.C.S. data in the US (15,000 American adults followed over 10 years) showed that tooth root decay was more important than cholesterol to predicting a heart attack.

Bacteria on the bristle of a toothbrushBacteria on the bristle of a toothbrush after use (5000x magnification)

But this study begs the question: if brushing your teeth helps reduce the risks of heart disease, shouldn’t the dental team also be mindful of the bacterial biofilm on the teeth and at the gum line when you visit the dentist? It seems so given that brushing your teeth controls perhaps half of the bacteria causing dental decay and gum disease, and even after a hygienist’s cleaning, there remains a lot of this “infection” in the mouth.

This Scottish study was widely reported on the BBC and in the British press. No doubt the community is being sensitized to the bacteria in the mouth. And no doubt too, the community is engaging its dental teams in what goes on in the mouth. This presents a great opportunity for the dental team to expand its scope of practice to managing the bacteria in the mouth before it manages overall health.

By: Ross Perry
SOURCED: Partners In Prevention – http://partnersinprevention.ca/to-prevent-heart-disease-brush-your-teeth-frequently/


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