Brushing teeth regularly is linked with a lower risk of heart failure

Brush your teeth to protect the heart.

Poor oral hygiene can provoke transient bacteremia and systemic inflammation, a mediator of atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. In a new study, scientists wanted to determine the association of oral hygiene indicators with atrial fibrillation and heart failure risk in Korea.

A total of 161,286 participants of the Korean National Health Insurance System aged 40 to 79 with no history of atrial fibrillation or heart failure- were enrolled in the study. 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 median follow-up of 10.5 years, 4,911 (3.0%) members developed the risk of atrial fibrillation, and 7,971 (4.9%) produced the risk of heart failure.

Tooth brushing at least three times each day was related to a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12% lower risk of heart failure during 10.5-year development. The discoveries were autonomous of various elements, including age, sex, socioeconomic status, regular exercise, alcohol consumption, BMI, and comorbidities, for example, hypertension. 

While the examination didn’t study mechanisms, one probability is that continuous tooth brushing decreases bacteria in the subgingival biofilm (bacteria living in the pocket between the teeth and gums), thus counteracting translocation to the bloodstream.

Senior author Dr. Tae-Jin Song of Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, Korea, noted that the analysis was limited to one country and, as an observational study does not prove causation. 

He added: “We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings.”

An accompanying editorial states: “It is certainly too early to recommend toothbrushing for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. While 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.”

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

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