A new study proves that poor oral hygiene can trigger transient bacteremia and systemic inflammation that leads to heart failure and atrial fibrillation. The team of scientists conducting the research wanted to ascertain whether there is a link between oral hygiene and atrial fibrillation and heart failure risk in South Korea.
The research consisted of 161,286 participants of the Korean National Health Insurance System, with ages between 40 and 79 and no records of atrial fibrillation or heart failure. The participants took part in a routine medical examination between 2003 and 2004 and had information such as their heights, weight, lab tests, lifestyle, diseases, oral health, and oral hygiene behaviors collected.
Following an average monitoring period of 10.5 years, 4,911 (3 percent) participants developed the possibility of atrial fibrillation, and 7,971 (4.9 percent) developed the risk of heart failure.
Oral Hygiene Linked to Heart Conditions
The 10.5-year study determined that oral hygiene at least three times a day was linked to a 10 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12 percent lower risk of heart failure. The findings were separate from numerous factors, such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, habitual exercise, alcohol intake, BMI, and comorbidities, for instance, hypertension.
Even though the study did not analyze mechanisms, one possibility is that continuous tooth cleansing reduces bacteria in the subgingival biofilm, which is bacteria thriving in the places between the teeth and gums, therefore blocking translocation to the bloodstream.
Dr. Tae Jin Song of Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea, and the senior author of the study said that the examination was restricted to one country and, because it is observational research, it does not focus on causation.
He said: “We studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings.”
The research has been published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.