Why Brush Your Teeth 3 Times A Day?
Korean researchers came to this conclusion after examining health data on 161,286 people who had no prior history of heart problems. After following about half of these people for 10.5 years, the investigators found that 4,911 developed atrial fibrillation while 7,971 developed heart failure. They also discovered that study participants who reported brushing their teeth three times a day were 10 percent less likely to develop atrial fibrillation and 12 percent less likely to develop heart failure compared to those who brushed less frequently. They noted that some earlier research suggested that practicing poor oral hygiene may prompt bacteria to enter into the bloodstream. This bacteremia may then lead to inflammation, which can increase the risk of both atrial fibrillation and heart failure. The Korean team reported that the connection between tooth brushing and the two heart problems persisted even after they accounted for other heart disease risk factors such as age, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, obesity and high blood pressure. They concluded that frequent tooth brushing and professional dental care may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
My take? We’ve known for some time that the bacteria that cause gum infections can also lead to or worsen atherosclerosis, the arterial disease that leads to heart attacks and strokes. A study published in 2005 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that people with the highest level of the bacteria that cause gum disease also had the most pronounced atherosclerosis. Regular dental checkups can identify and treat any gum disease, which can help avoid potential cardiac complications. And, of course, it is vital to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to avoid the buildup of small amounts of food that attract and nourish bacteria
Tae-Jin Song et al, “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, December 1, 2019, doi:10.1177/2047487319886018
More information from this week’s bulletin:
- Dangers Of Cell Phone Use
- Exercise = Longer Life For Women
- This week’s recipe: Spicy Garlic Broccoli With Pine Nuts
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