Short Bites: The Association between Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease


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The emergence of chronic disease complications in controlled HIV disease has changed the landscape of HIV clinical care. HIV infection confers an increased cardiovascular disease risk which is thought to be due to a complex interplay of mechanistic factors. While traditional cardiovascular risk factors likely play a role, recent evidence suggests that HIV-associated inflammation and immune activation are important mediators of cardiovascular risk.[i]

Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, new research presented by the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests.

After surveying 682 people about their brushing habits, researchers determined that not following oral hygiene guidelines increased three-fold the risk of having or dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

“Poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behavior, is associated with (poorer heart health),” lead researcher Shogo Matsui, of the Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan, said in a Nov. 7 press release from AHA.

The release highlights a separate study – published Oct. 22, 2018, in the AHA journal Hypertension – in which researchers found that gum disease appears to increase blood pressure and may negatively interfere with medications designed to treat hypertension.

Gum disease is one of the diseases “where the body may be in a sort of continual state of inflammation, and this seems to be a very powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease,” Ann Bolger, a cardiologist, and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, said in the release.

AHA announced the new study results Nov. 10, 2018, at its Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago, IL.

[i] Triant, V.A. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep (2013) 10: 199.

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