Heart disease is the No.1 leading cause of death in developed countries across the world. While approximately 80% of cardiac fatalities are preventable via regular exercise, less stress, following a plant-based diet and avoiding alcohol & tobacco, a new CV prevention factor is slowly getting more traction – your oral health.
The link between your oral and heart health is a concept that is becoming more prominent, accepted and better understood as a result of ongoing clinical research. In one huge Korean cohort study and meta-analysis, 247,696 healthy adults were tracked over a 10 year period. The key findings of the study showed that poor oral health was significantly linked to cardiovascular (CV) events.
The Korean researchers found that brushing one extra time a day resulted in 9% lower risk of CV events, while regular dental cleaning & hygiene visits could lower the risk by an additional 14%. They also concluded that even those with oral health issues had better CV outcomes, by simply increasing their brushing frequency and getting regular professional cleaning.
Additional findings indicate that pathogenic oral bacteria entering the bloodstream could cause systemic inflammation and contribute to atrial fibrillation & heart failure events. Brushing more than three times per day decreased the risk of atrial fibrillation by 10%, and heart failure by 12%. Professional dental cleanings had a negative effect on heart failure.
In conclusion, the researchers found that better oral hygiene and reducing one’s oral bacterial load were key preventative measures against CV events – along with exercise and a healthier diet.
Chang, Y., Woo, H., Park, J., Lee, J. and Song, T., 2020. 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, 27(17), pp.1835-1845.