Brush teeth to ward off heart attacks

People who don’t brush their teeth twice a day are more likely to suffer from heart disease, according to a recent study.
The study published in the British Medical Journal found that people who never or rarely brush their teeth are 70 per cent more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who brush their teeth twice a day. The study looked at the habits of 11,000 adults and found those with poor oral hygiene had a higher risk of getting heart disease, compared with those who brushed twice a day.
The study backs up previous research linking gum disease with heart disease. It is known that inflammation in the body, including in the mouth and gums, has an important role in build up of clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
However, this is the first time that researchers have examined the frequency of teeth brushing to see whether it has an impact on the risk of developing heart disease. In the study, six out of 10 people said they visited the dentist every six months and seven out of 10 reported brushing their teeth twice a day.
During the eight-year study there were 555 ‘cardiovascular events’ such as heart attacks, 170 of which were fatal. Those with poor oral hygiene also tested positive in blood samples for proteins which are suggestive of inflammation.
Study leader Prof Richard Watt, from University College London, said “Our results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, inflammatory markers were significantly associated with very simple measure of poor oral health behaviour.
“Further 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.