A new study lead by Professor Richard Watt from University College London has analyzed the Scottish Healthy Survey results of 11,000 adults. The study set out to investigate whether the number of times individuals brush their teeth has any consequences on the risk of developing heart disease.
In the survey individuals were asked how often they visited the dentist (at least once every six months, every one to two years, or rarely/never) and how often they brushed their teeth (twice a day, once a day or less than once a day).
On a separate the respondents had nurses collected information on medical history and family history of heart disease, blood pressure. In addition blood samples from those who consented were collected. The samples enabled the researchers to determine levels of inflammation that were present in the body.
The results demonstrate that oral health behaviours were generally good with 62% of those saying they visit the dentist every 6 months and 71% saying that they brush their teeth twice a day.
The data was then adjusted for established cardio risk factors such as obesity, smoking, social class, and family history of heart disease.
This allowed the researchers to determine that participants who reported less frequent toothbrushing had a 70% extra risk of heart disease compared to individuals who brushed their teeth twice a day. In addition, individuals with poor oral hygiene tested positive for inflammatory markers.
Clearly this study demonstrates that you should be brushing your teeth in the morning and in the evening. If you are not already doing so take proactive steps to remember by perhaps writing yourself notes or having someone else remind you.
Source: Cesar de Oliveira, Richard Watt,and Mark Hamer,. Toothbrushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish Health Survey. BMJ, 2010;340:c2451