Dentists always recommend patients to brush their teeth at least twice a day for good oral hygiene. If a new study is to be believed, brushing teeth three or more times a day not only keeps tooth decay at bay but also decreases the risk of irregular heartbeat and heart failure, reported The Times Of India.
Previous studies have linked poor oral hygiene to the creation of bacteria in the blood that causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation increases the risks of irregular heartbeat, and heart failure, a condition where the heart’s ability to pump blood or relax, and fill with blood is impaired.
The latest study carried out in South Korea examined the connection between oral hygiene and the occurrence of these two conditions.
For the purpose of the study, the researchers examined 161,286 participants of the Korean National Health Insurance System between the age of 40 to 79 who had no history of atrial fibrillation or heart failure. The participants were made to undergo a routine medical examination between 2003 and 2004. Information related to the participants’ height, weight, laboratory tests, illnesses, lifestyle, oral health, and oral hygiene behaviors were recorded.
Brushing Reduces Risk Of Heart Failure
During a follow-up of 10.5 years, it was found that 4,911 (3 percent) participants developed atrial fibrillation and 7,971 (4.9 percent) developed heart failure.
Interestingly, the participants who brushed their teeth three or more times a day had a 10 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12 percent reduced risk of heart failure during the same time.
Tae-Jin Song, the senior author of the study from the Ewha Woman’s University in South Korea, noted that the analysis was limited to one country, and as an observational study does not prove causation.
“We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings,” he said.
The researchers said that the findings were independent of a number of factors including age, sex, socioeconomic status, regular exercise, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and disorders such as hypertension.
While the study did not investigate mechanisms, one possibility is that frequent tooth brushing reduces bacteria in the subgingival biofilm (bacteria living in the pocket between the teeth and gums), potentially preventing it from reaching the bloodstream.
The latest study has been published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.