Past studies have linked poor oral hygiene to an increased risk of certain chronic health conditions,media reported. But a new study warns that brushing your teeth only once or twice a day may not adequately protect people’s hearts. People may need to brush their teeth at least three times a day to significantly reduce the risk of certain heart problems, according to a new study published by the European College of Cardiology.
The findings are based on a cohort study of more than 161,000 participants between the ages of 40 and 79. None of the participants experienced heart failure or atrial fibrillation at the time of the study. All participants received medical examinations, which provided, inter alia, detailed information on their oral hygiene practices and oral health. After more than a decade of follow-up, more than 4,900 participants experienced atrial fibrillation, while more than 7,900 participants experienced heart failure.
The researchers assessed participants based on reported oral hygiene practices and found that people who brushed their teeth at least three times a day had a 10 percent lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation and a 12 percent lower risk of heart failure.
After considering other possible factors such as age, weight and high blood pressure, the researchers found a reduced risk. The researchers speculate that brushing your teeth regularly reduces the number of bacteria found between the gums and teeth, keeping it away from the blood.
Past studies have found that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation. Then, an inflammatory response may lead to other long-term health conditions, including the development of heart disease and dementia.