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Toothbrushing helps prevent Heart Problems

Toothbrushing is Important

Tooth brushing saves you from toothache and dental problems. But if that is not reason enough, here’s another reason to brush your teeth regularly: People who do not brush regularly seem to have a greater risk of heart disease compared to those who brush regularly. 

This is the conclusion of a study published in a very respected research journal, the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The study has concluded that there is a relationship between tooth brushing frequency and both cardiovascular disease and inflammatory markers in the blood. 


 Richard Watt, co-author of the study said that, “We have not established a causal relationship, however. More research is needed to test if improving patients’ oral hygiene to reduce their gum inflammation has an effect on cardiovascular disease risk,” added Watt, who is with the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London 

  The findings do make sense, however in light of previous studies that have found a relationship between gum disease and heart disease. Periodontal disease has been associated with a 19 per cent increase in the risk of heart disease. That number leaps to 44 percent in people under the age of 65, according to the study. 

  The most likely culprit is the inflammation associated with gum disease, which can go system-wide and contribute to plaque build-up in the arteries. 

  The study authors surveyed almost 12000 people living in Scotland who admitted to how often they brushed their teeth.  Over an average eight years of follow-up, people who ‘rarely or never brushed’ their teeth had a 70% increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or other event compared to those who set to the task twice a day. 

  The rarely/never brushers also had higher levels of C reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. 

  Overall though participants practiced good oral hygiene,  with almost two-thirds saying they went to the dentist every six months and almost three-quarters reporting brushing their teeth twice daily. 

 “We talk often about lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, exercise and diet, and one of the things we can’t forget about when it comes to self-maintenance is oral hygiene,” said Dr Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. It’s one new thing. Don’t smoke, eat right and brush your teeth.” 

  Dr Madan’s Final Comments:  Toothbrushing is one of the key weapons in your hands to fight dental plaque and dental problems. So its nice to have one more reason to brush your teeth.

 (c) Dr Madan 2011.  All rights are reserved and copying is prohibited.
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