Brushing up on heart health

Research we're watching

Taking good care of your teeth — including twice-daily brushing and at least yearly professional cleanings — seems to be linked to better heart health, according to a study in the April 7 European Heart Journal.

The findings were based on data from nearly 248,000 healthy adults ages 40 and older who were part of a national health screening program in Korea. Researchers tracked study participants for a median of 9.5 years and noted higher rates of heart-related problems among individuals who had periodontal (gum) disease or who had lost teeth.

After adjusting for possible confounding factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, researchers estimated that one additional toothbrushing session per day was associated with a 9% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, going to the dentist for a professional cleaning at least once a year was associated with a 14% lower risk. A number of earlier studies have come to similar conclusions, highlighting the importance of good oral hygiene.

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