Brushing teeth 'helps to cut heart attack risk'
Giving your teeth a thorough brush to remove plaque can help prevent heart attacks and strokes by reducing inflammation in the body, according to new research.
The study by scientists in Florida Atlantic University in the US found it has almost the same effect as taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.
The added benefits of good tooth-brushing were backed yesterday by dentists in the Irish Dental Association.
President of the Irish Dental Association, Dr PJ Byrne, said that improving oral hygiene by better, more efficient brushing and cleaning between the teeth is likely to have a systemic health benefit.
He said: "Current research also indicates that this benefit is not just confined to cardiac disease but is also relevant to many other 'inflammatory conditions' or diseases that commonly affect patients, such as diabetes, arthritis and Crohn's disease.
"Periodontal disease is very prevalent and gets more common with age.
"It has been linked to coronary heart disease and shares a number of risk factors with cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases," he added.
"The risk factors include age, gender, socio-economic status, chronic inflammatory diseases, obesity and smoking.
"Dental professionals have the potential to influence modifiable risk factors and lifestyle choices and therefore reduce the burden of not just oral disease but, importantly, improve general health.
"It is important to stress that maintaining good oral health is an integral part of achieving a more holistic, healthy lifestyle," he said.
He was commenting after the study from Florida Atlantic University recommended that the effects should now be researched in a larger number of people.
These include individuals who already have heart disease and need to prevent heart attacks and strokes.