Saturday, May 29, 2010


The 27th May issue of the British Medical Journal, carried an interesting article by Prof Richard Watt of University College London. His team carried out a survey in Scotland ( the Scottish have a high incidence of Coronary Heart Disease ) of 11,000 adult Scots and asked them questions regarding their life-style ( smoking, exercise, diet ) and dental hygeine ( including how often they brush their teeth and how often they visited their dentist. They were also asked abut their history of heart disease, family history of heart disease and clinical biochemical profile. ( Lets not ask why an English team is study heart disease in Scotland )
What Prof Watts and team discovered was that people who brush their teeth less them twice a day, had a higher incidence of heart disease, when compared with those who brush their teeth twice per day. No, they did not enquire as to the tooth paste brand and toothbrush used.
This is probably the first and largest survey, that showed a correlation between dental hygeine and heart disease.
We have always suspected that chronic inflammation may be a risk factor for coronary artery disease, in some ways supporting the inflammation hypothesis of atherosclerosis. They were earlier small studies which correlated gingivitis and chronic peridontitis with heart disease.
However, the earlier trials when antibiotics were given to patients with raised LDL-C did not seem to reduce the incidence of heart disease. ( In the PROVE-IT TIMI 18 trial, statins but not antibiotics rduce the incidence of MACE ).
I suppose, it is reasonable that we should take care of our oral hygeine, and besides many good reasons, it may also reduce heart disease. It is also important to note that the study did not show that if you brush more then twice a day is better. Everything in moderation.

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