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Good Oral Hygiene Can Prevent Heart Disease

While having good oral hygiene will save you a ton of money, and will probably help you with your overall health as your immune system will not be fighting off low level infections all of the time, and more serious ones some of the time, we know that the bacteria living in the plaque that accumulates on teeth cause a number of problems. There is a strong correlation between intestinal cancers and periodontitis and gum disease, although the precise mechanisms are not really understood, and the plaque on the teeth is similar to the plaque that causes heart disease as well.

The Link

Recently, using a little bit of backtracking (improving oral conditions first and seeing if cardiac conditions also improved), scientists in New York managed to provide some results that definitively prove that oral health is in fact intrinsically linked with the health of the heart. The link was produced when researchers were dealing with a massive study that was used to track people with atherosclerosis.

Study Specifics

The study itself tracked the progression of 420 patients suffering from atherosclerosis. This is a disease in which the arteries become narrower from a buildup of plaque. The teeth and the bacteria living on the plaque that is on the teeth is incredibly similar to what you get in your arteries as well. 

The study found that when applying good oral hygiene and regular cleaning of the teeth, the median thickness of the plaque causing atherosclerosis decreased by 0.1 millimeters. This may seem like a very small amount, but according to cardiologists, this implies a significant improvement in cardiac health. The most important thing now is to follow these patients, and see how much of a difference proper oral hygiene really makes when curing atherosclerosis and other plaque induced arterial blockages.

Implications

The most important implication in this study for us as mere mortals is that your dental health is now scientifically proven to be linked with your cardiac health as well. This means that taking better care of your teeth will help you in preventing heart disease, the number one killer in the West. To what extent plaque intensifies the problems that you may already have is not yet clear, but will overtime become obvious, but the fact that oral health influences your heart is now undeniable. Just one more reason to keep that half year checkup! 

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