Does toothbrushing affect cardiovascular risk?

January 01, 0001

Does toothbrushing affect cardiovascular risk?

There has been some data suggesting a link between oral hygiene and cardiovascular risk. These British researchers examined whether toothbrushing behaviour is related to cardiovascular disease as well as inflammatory markers (C reactive protein) and coagulation (fibrinogen). They utilized the Scottish Health Survey, including 11 869 men and women with a mean age of 50. Oral hygiene was assessed from self reported frequency of toothbrushing. Surveys were linked prospectively to clinical hospital records, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate the cardiovascular risk. The association with laboratory markers was examined in a subsample of participants (n=4830) using general linear models with adjustments.

The researchers found: "There were a total of 555 cardiovascular disease events over an average of 8.1 years of follow-up, of which 170 were fatal. In about 74 percent (411) of cardiovascular disease events the principal diagnosis was coronary heart disease. Participants who reported poor oral hygiene (never/rarely brushed their teeth) had an increased risk of a cardiovascular disease event (hazard ratio 1.7) in a fully adjusted model. They also had increased concentrations of both C reactive protein (beta 0.04) and fibrinogen (0.08)."

The researchers concluded: "Poor oral hygiene is associated with higher levels of risk of cardiovascular disease and low grade inflammation, though the causal nature of the association is yet to be determined."

This study provides further evidence of the link between oral and cardiovascular health

For the full abstract, click here.

BMJ 340:c2451, 27 May 2010
© 2010 de Oliveira et al
Toothbrushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish Health Survey. Cesar de Oliveira, Richard Watt, and Mark Hamer. Correspondence to R Watt: [email protected]

Category: D. Digestive, K. Circulatory. Keywords: toothbrushing, oral hygiene, cardiovascular risk, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, prospective study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 22 June 2010

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