In recent years, experts have reported a link between oral health and overall health and wellbeing. More and more studies confirm the strong connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. But, did you know that a new study found that those who brushed their teeth at least twice a day reduced their risk of developing heart disease by 70%?
Indeed, good personal hygiene, including teeth brushing, has long been understood as an essential factor in good health and longevity. The Scottish Health Survey, published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, looked at how often individuals need to brush their teeth to reduce their risk of heart disease. The results are surprising.
Background on the Scottish Health Survey
The Scottish Health Survey draws a nationally representative sample of the general population living in households in Scotland. The Scottish Health Survey followed a group of 11,000 for about eight years. Researchers asked about a number of health and lifestyle issues, like family medical history, lifestyle and behavioral issues, how often study participants brushed their teeth, and so forth. Researchers also tracked and recorded the blood pressure for each study participant and drew blood samples.
Important Findings of the Scottish Health Survey
The Scottish Health Survey indicates that most people are conscientious about brushing their Furthermore, the study indicates that brushing teeth at least twice a day can have positive heart health benefits. Brushing teeth at this rate can even cut the risk of developing heart disease by 70%, an important finding. As important, there were no differences among men and women in these findings.
The results of this Scottish Health Survey Study further strengthen the results of previous studies indicating the connection between oral health and heart disease. The results also advance our knowledge of how many times you need to brush your teeth to realize heart health benefits.
Heart Disease and Oral Health Connection
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) reports that theories abound to explain the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Some believe that oral bacteria can harm the heart when they enter the bloodstream. Others assert that inflammation resulting from periodontal disease leads to plaque build up which may cause arteries to swell. In several studies, researchers have found that people with gum disease are about two times as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those without it.
Gum disease has also been found to exacerbate existing heart problems. AAP explains that this is why some of us are required to take antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures or surgery. Other studies indicate a possible connection between periodontal disease and stroke.
Tooth brushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish Health Survey
By Cesar de Oliveira, Richard Watt and Mark Hamer
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American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)
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