Brush Your Teeth everyday And Keep Heart Diseases at Bay, StudyBy Staff Reporter
Apart from preventing cavities and bad breath, maintaining good oral hygiene can also keep heart diseases at bay, according to a new study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers found that good oral hygiene lowers progression of artherosclerosis (a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and death).
"These results are important because atherosclerosis progressed in parallel with both clinical periodontal disease and the bacterial profiles in the gums," said Dr. Moïse Desvarieux, lead author of the paper and associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School in an official statement. "This is the most direct evidence yet that modifying the periodontal bacterial profile could play a role in preventing or slowing both diseases."
The researchers conducted the study to find out whether or not healthy oral bacterial profile can restrict artherosclerosis. They analyzed data from the Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study, a previous research project that collected 5,008 plaque samples from 420 adults. In the samples, they also looked out for 11 bacterial strains linked with periodontal disease.
After using additional data gathered at follow-up visits, the researchers discovered that periodontal hygiene is inversely proportional to the progression rate of artherosclerosis. Those with improved periodontal hygiene showed slower progression of the thickness of the innermost two layers of the arterial wall. And, for those whose periodontal hygiene got worse, the progression was faster.
"Our results address a gap identified in the [American Heart Association] statement on periodontal disease and atherosclerosis, by providing longitudinal data supporting this association," said study co-author Dr. Ralph Sacco, professor and chairman of Neurology at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine and former president of the American Heart Association.
Desvarieux concluded: "It is critical that we continue to follow these patients to see if the relationship between periodontal infections and atherosclerosis carries over to clinical events like heart attack and stroke and test if modifying the periodontal flora will slow the progression of atherosclerosis."