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Improving oral health can lessen heart disease risks

Want to keep your heart healthy? Start with your teeth.

People who use plaque-targeting toothpaste brush their teeth more thoroughly, lowering their levels of heart-attack triggering inflammation, according to a study in the American Journal of Medicine.1 The 2016 study suggests that a thorough brushing habit can decrease the future risk of heart attacks.

Maintaining oral health is also important for those who already have coronary heart disease. Another study found that tooth loss is associated with an increased risk of death and stroke in heart disease patients.2 Compared to individuals who still had all their own teeth, those with no teeth showed greater overall health risk, for example:

  • 27% higher risk of major cardiovascular events
  • 85% higher risk of cardiovascular death
  • 67% higher risk of stroke
  • 81% higher risk of all causes of death

Patients who had lost only some teeth experienced a steadily increased risk, rising roughly 6% for every tooth lost.

“While additional study is needed, research indicates that oral health could play a role in improving overall health and lowering the risk of serious conditions,” said Kevin Sheu, DDS, director of professional services for Delta Dental. “Research like this is a good reminder that a healthy lifestyle, including a strong oral health component, supports better overall wellness.”

Related reading

Last updated: February 2017

  • 1Randomized trial of Plaque identifying Toothpaste: Dental Plaque and Inflammation. The American Journal of Medicine, 2016.
  • 2Tooth loss is independently associated with poor outcomes in stable coronary heart disease. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2015.
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