Consumer News Heart disease, Tooth Brushing

Your physician may have offered some simple strategies for helping prevent heart disease: don't smoke; eat healthy foods; exercise; maintain a healthy weight.

And brush your teeth? According to Scottish researchers, brushing teeth has an important association with a reduced risk for heart disease, so you might want to grab that toothbrush.

In a recent study of nearly 12,000 men and women in Scotland, researchers tracked cardiovascular disease events in 555 patients. Patients who said they rarely or never brushed their teeth had an increased risk of heart disease. They also had increased concentrations of C reactive protein and fibrinogen (substances in the blood). CRP and fibronogen levels rise in response to inflammation associated with heart disease and other diseases.

Researchers say that results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of heart disease. Inflammatory markers were associated with poor oral health behavior, but further research is needed to confirm whether the results of this study show a risk marker or a more significant link between oral and overall health.

Visit ADA.org for information on cleaning your teeth and gums, including a how-to guide for brushing and helpful links to additional resources. There's also information on toothbrush cleaning, storage and replacement .

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