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Less Frequent Toothbrushing Linked to Heart Disease

Rarely or never brushing associated with 70 percent higher CVD risk than brushing twice daily

FRIDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Poor oral hygiene is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as higher concentrations of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, according to research published online May 27 in BMJ.

Cesar de Oliveira, Ph.D., of the University College London, and colleagues analyzed data from 11,869 men and women (mean age, 50 years) participating in the Scottish Health Survey. Subjects reported the frequency of their dental visits and toothbrushing.

The researchers found that during an average of 8.1 years of follow-up, those who never or rarely brushed their teeth had an increased risk of a cardiovascular disease event (hazard ratio, 1.7) compared to those who brushed their teeth twice daily. Those who brushed less often also had higher concentrations of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and fibrinogen.

"Our results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Given the high prevalence of oral infections in the population, doctors should be alert to the possible oral source of an increased inflammatory burden. In addition, educating patients in improving personal oral hygiene is beneficial to their oral health regardless of the relation with systemic disease," the authors conclude.

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