Now there’s even more of a reason to brush your teeth twice a day. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, brushing teeth frequently is linked with lower risks of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
Previous research suggests that poor oral hygiene leads to bacteria in the blood, causing inflammation in the body. Inflammation increases the risks of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure.
Analysing a cohort of over 100,000 participants aged 40 to 79 with no history of atrial fibrillation or heart failure, participants underwent a routine medical examination between 2003 and 2004.
During a follow-up of 10.5 years, 4,911 (3.0%) participants developed atrial fibrillation and 7,971 (4.9%) developed heart failure.
Brushing your teeth three or more times a day was associated with a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12% lower risk of heart failure during a 10.5-year follow up.
Frequent tooth brushing reduces bacteria in the pocket between the teeth and gums, thereby preventing translocation to the bloodstream.
An accompanying editorial states: “It is certainly too early to recommend tooth brushing for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.” It adds: “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.”
Yoonkyung Chang, Ho Geol Woo, Jin Park, Ji Sung Lee, Tae-Jin Song. Improved oral hygiene care is associated with decreased risk of occurrence for atrial fibrillation and heart failure: A nationwide population-based cohort study. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2019.