Recent research shows a correlation between brushing teeth and heart health.
Heart diseases also known as cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are one of the leading causes of death globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 17.9 million people die each year due to heart diseases. Heart diseases are often referred to conditions which cause the narrowing of or dysfunction of the blood vessels involved in supplying blood and oxygen to vital organs in the body.
In a recent study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers found the link between brushing teeth and heart health, specifically, the two heart conditions known as atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure (HF).
The researchers conducted a cohort study comprising of 161,286 participants from the Korean National Health Insurance System with no history of atrial fibrillation, heart failure or any other heart conditions. Participants aged between 40-79 years underwent a routine medical exam between 2003-2004 and their weight, height, lifestyle questionnaire, laboratory tests, and blood pressure were recorded.
Frequent teeth brushing associated with reduced risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure
Of these participants, 3% (4911) developed atrial fibrillation and 4.9% developed heart failure over a median follow-up of 10.5 years. The study reported that frequent teeth brushing (three times or more) reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation, by 10%, and heart failure, by 12%.
This research highlights the significance of oral hygiene in the prevention of heart conditions, however, the underlying mechanisms require further study. It is important to note, this study was limited to only one ethnic group, and did not collect data regarding the number of dental visits by participants.
Written by Sakina Bano Mendha
Cardiovascular diseases. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/cardiovascular-diseases/#tab=tab_1.
Chang, Y., Woo, H. G., Park, J., Lee, J. S., & Song, T.-J. (2019). Improved oral hygiene care is associated with decreased risk of occurrence for atrial fibrillation and heart failure: A nationwide population-based cohort study. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 204748731988601. doi: 10.1177/2047487319886018
Escardio. (n.d.). Brush your teeth to protect the heart. Retrieved from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/esoc-byt112619.php.
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