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Help Your Heart: Brush and Floss
August 8, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - People with excellent oral hygiene are at lower risk for heart and blood-vessel disease, a study concludes. The same study found that excellent oral hygiene did not affect the risk of type 2 diabetes, however.

Researchers from Wisconsin did the study. It included 712 adults. None had heart or blood-vessel disease, or type 2 diabetes.

People answered questions about how often they brushed and flossed. The researchers classified people's oral hygiene as poor, fair, good or excellent. Researchers also had information about health factors that affected people's risk of heart and blood vessel disease.

Those with the best oral hygiene had lower risk scores for heart and blood vessel disease.

According to the American Heart Association, the major risk factors for heart and blood-vessel disease are:

  • Increasing age
  • Male gender
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity and overweight
  • Diabetes

The researchers suggest that more studies be done to understand the relationship between oral hygiene and risk of heart and blood-vessel disease. It may be that people who take exceptional care of their teeth also tend to have other habits that make them healthier overall. For example, they may be less likely to smoke. They may exercise more or may take steps to keep their blood pressure and cholesterol at normal levels.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

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