New research shows that the risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure is significantly reduced by brushing the teeth three or more times a day.
Our mouth’s bacteria can hold the key to many aspects of our health.
Researchers found intriguing information about the risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer in mouth bacteria, and some research associated poor oral hygiene with breathing problems.
It also strengthens the correlation between oral health and cardiovascular health by building up evidence.
Of example, several studies have found oral bacteria in people receiving emergency stroke care in the blood clots, and experts have correlated serious gum disease with a significantly higher risk of hypertension.
In comparison, the destruction of friendly oral bacteria that help maintain a healthy and balanced oral microbiome can interfere with blood pressure levels and lead to hypertension.
It therefore seems that maintaining good oral health is essential to cardiovascular health.
A new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology now indicates that regular toothbrushing can keep heart failure and atrial fibrillation (A-fib) a form of arrhythmia at bay.
Dr. Tae-Jin Song of the University of Ewha Womans in Seoul, Korea, is the new study’s senior author.
Dr. Song and team explain in their paper that the motivation for the study depends on the role of inflammation as a mediator. They write, “Poor oral hygiene can cause transient bacteremia and systemic inflammation, a mediator of heart failure and atrial fibrillation.”
Dr. Song and team investigated the associations of atrial fibrillation with both heart failure and poor oral hygiene in their study. They used data from 161,286 people who were part of the cohort of screening for the Korean National Health Insurance System-Health.
A-fib is a disease in the United States that affects at least 2.7 million people. In people with A-fib, because it does not beat consistently, the heart can not efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body.
Also in people with heart failure, the heart does not pump blood as it should. As insufficient oxygen reaches the other organs in the body, this inefficiency results in fatigue and sometimes respiratory problems.
The present study participants were 40–79 years of age and had no history of either A-fib or heart failure.
The group assessed the height and weight of each participant during the enrollment, which took place between 2003 and 2004, and asked them questions about their lifestyle, oral health, and oral hygiene habits.
Brushing reduces the risk of heart failure by 12%
4,911 attendees obtained an A-fib diagnosis over a median follow-up period of 10.5 years, and 7,971 developed heart failure.
Confounding factors, including age, sex, socioeconomic status, physical activity, intake of alcohol, body mass index, and other coexisting conditions, such as hypertension have not influenced these results as the researchers explained in their analysis.
Summary of the authors:
“Improved oral hygiene care was associated with decreased risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. Healthier oral hygiene by frequent toothbrushing and professional dental cleanings may reduce risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.”
They also note, however, that the research is limited, as with any observational study, and can not explain the cause. The study is also limited because only people living in one country were looked at, so the results may not be generalizable.
Nevertheless, the senior author of the study notes, “We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings.”


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