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Dental Cleanings May Protect Your Heart

Dr Martin Abelar - October 20, 2020 - 0 comments

Clean teeth: they don’t just look good, they feel good, they keep your breath fresh, and believe it or not, they may even save your life. At least that’s what the findings of a new study by a team at Mokdong Hospital at Ewha Woman’s University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea has discovered.
The study, which was published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that when patients underwent dental cleanings, they reduced their risks of both atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
The study examined data from 161,286 patients (mean age, 52 years; 61% men) from the National Health Insurance Service-National Health Screening Cohort in South Korea. The patients in the study did not have heart failure or atrial fibrillation, or any cardiac valvular diseases. Data included age, weight, and oral health habits, though an additional survey was conducted to obtain more information about the patients’ oral hygiene and oral health habits. Patients were also given an oral health exam to screen for conditions such as periodontitis.
During the study, which spanned an average of 10.5 years, three percent of the patients developed atrial fibrillation while 4.9 percent suffered heart failure.
The patients with the lowest risk for heart failure were the ones who brushed their teeth the most frequently, says Dr. Martin Abelar, a dentist in San Diego, California who did not participate in the study.
“Patients who brushed three or more times a day showed the lowest risk of suffering from heart failure,” said Abelar. “Furthermore, those patients who had regular professional dental cleanings were at a higher advantage because professional dental cleanings actually weakened the body’s risk for heart failure.”
While researchers are still currently unable to determine why or how oral hygiene is related to the lowered risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure, Abelar believes the findings are important keys to maintaining total body health.
“While we may not know the exact reasoning behind the reduction of risks to one’s cardiovascular health by caring for their oral health, it can be said that maintaining excellent oral health is important for the longevity of not just your teeth and gums but possibly your entire body. Because oral health is something we care for anyway, brushing and getting regular cleanings is an easy way to potentially add years to your life and maintain excellent heart health. The worst that could happen is a beautiful smile.”

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