Brushing your teeth on a regular basis could reduce your risk of a heart attack, a new study claims. The study's findings were originally published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
A team from the European Society of Cardiology studied data of 161,000 people who had no history of heart issues. A 10-year follow-up revealed 3 per cent of the people in the group developed atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm, and close to 5 per cent developed heart failure.
However, the team also discovered those who had a 10 per cent reduced risk of atrial fibrillation and 12 per cent reduced risk of heart failure brushed their teeth thrice a day. The team also took into account other contributing factors - age, sex, socioeconomic status, regular exercise, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and hypertension.
“We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings,” senior author Dr Tae-Jin Song, from the Ewha Woman's University in Seoul,told a news portal.
Poor oral hygiene has been linked to serious health issues in the past. While the findings are encouraging, experts warn it is too early to say if this can be used as a preventative measure. "It is certainly too early to recommend tooth brushing for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure," an accompanying editorial stated. Adding, "While the role of inflammation in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease is becoming more and more evident, intervention studies are needed to define strategies of public health importance."
However, more and more research is shedding light on how oral health plays a huge role when it comes to overall health. "All health care professionals should work to promote good oral hygiene for their older patients," study author Dr Patrick Coll, a professor of family medicine and medicine at the UConn School of Medicine, told a news portal. Coll further explained they "should consider an oral examination during an annual wellness visit, especially for those patients who are not receiving regular dental care."
Another study, published in the journal Sage, found poor oral health can increase the risk of liver cancer by 75 per cent. "Poor oral health has been associated with the risk of several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes," study author Dr Haydée WT Jordão, from the Centre of Public Health at Queen's University Belfast, told a news portal "However, there is inconsistent evidence on the association between poor oral health and specific types of gastrointestinal cancers, which is what our research aimed to examine."
Picture Courtesy: Google Images