ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Add your Article

Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes

Here's another reason to brush your teeth regularly: People who don't perform this essential of oral hygiene seem to have a greater risk of heart disease compared to their more diligent peers.

"We were surprised to find a relationship between toothbrushing frequency and both cardiovascular disease and inflammatory markers in the blood," said Richard Watt, co-author of a study published this week in the BMJ.

"We have not established a causal relationship, however. More research is needed to test if improving patients' oral hygiene to reduce their gum inflammation has an effect on cardiovascular disease risk," added Watt, who is with the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

The findings do make sense, however, in light of previous studies that have found a relationship between gum disease and heart disease. Periodontal disease has been associated with a 19 percent increase in the risk of heart disease. That number leaps to 44 percent in people under the age of 65, according to the study.

The most likely culprit is the inflammation associated with gum disease, which can go system-wide and contribute to plaque build-up in the arteries.

The study authors surveyed almost 12,000 people living in Scotland who admitted to how often they brushed their teeth.

Over an average eight years of follow-up, people who "rarely or never brushed" their teeth had a 70 percent increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or other event, compared to those who set to the task twice a day.

The rarely/never brushers also had higher levels of C reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

Overall, though, participants practiced good oral hygiene with almost two-thirds saying they went to the dentist every six months and almost three-quarters reporting brushing their teeth twice daily.

"We talk often about lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, exercise and diet, and one of the things we can't forget about when it comes to self-maintenance is oral hygiene," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "It's one new thing. Don't smoke, eat right and brush your teeth."

"It's nice to have one more reason to brush your teeth," added Dr. Harmony R. Reynolds, associate director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at NYU Langone Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine. "Over time, it reduces inflammation."

SOURCES: Richard Watt, Ph.D., department of epidemiology and public health, University College London; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., preventive cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, and spokeswoman, American Heart Association; Harmony R. Reynolds, M.D., associate director, Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, and assistant professor of medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; May 28, 2010, BMJ Published on: May 28, 2010