Thursday, June 10, 2010

Clean Teeth, Healthy Heart?

INTELIHEALTH - There may be yet another reason to brush your teeth: protecting your heart.
British researchers used information from a Scottish national survey. It involved 11,869 adults. People were asked how often they brushed their teeth. During the next 8 years, 555 of the people had a heart attack, stroke or other heart or blood vessel problem.
People who said they "never" or "rarely" brushed their teeth had a 70% higher risk of a heart problem than people who brushed more often.
The research also looked to see if brushing was linked with inflammation. A protein in the blood can be measured to see if inflammation is present. This blood protein is C-reactive protein, or CRP. High levels of CRP have been linked with an increased risk of heart attack.
In the study, people who brushed their teeth less often had higher levels of CRP.
The research does not mean that poor oral hygiene causes heart problems, however. It may be that people who neglect their teeth tend to have a higher risk of heart problems for other reasons. These could include poor diet, lack of exercise or excess weight. The study did not look at these factors.
Other studies have found links between periodontal disease and heart problems. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It causes inflammation. The body's response to the periodontal infection may contribute to heart disease. People with this condition have been shown to have a 19% higher overall risk of heart disease. In people under 65, the risk increase is 44%.
The study appears in the May 27 issue of the British Medical Journal.

Article found here.

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