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Why you should brush your teeth for heart health

Toothbrush with toothpaste.
Toothbrush with toothpaste.

June is Oral Health Month.

Now there’s another good reason to brush your teeth -- recent research links two common heart conditions with poor dental hygiene.

“What they found was that the risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure is lower in those individuals who undertake professional dental cleaning and reported that they brush their teeth three times a day or more,” said Dr. Luke Laffin, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study.

The study looks at 10 years of data on more than 160,000 people in Korea.

Participants’ oral hygiene habits were identified and they were followed to see if they developed heart failure or atrial fibrillation – a heart rhythm disorder, also known as AFib.

Results show people with better dental habits had lower risk for the two heart conditions.

Authors add that 22, or more, missing teeth was associated with higher risk for heart failure.

Laffin said it’s well known that cardiovascular disease is associated with inflammation in the body -- and the gums can be a source of that.

So, along with a heart healthy diet, exercise, and managing blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes -- it’s important to keep teeth healthy.

“Brush your teeth regularly, floss, do what the dentist says more than anything else,” said Laffin. “It’s always a good idea to see your dentist regularly as well. Get those regular teeth cleanings, particularly if you’re at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.”

Complete results for the study can be found in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.