MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Improved oral hygiene care is associated with a reduced risk for atrial fibrillation and heart failure, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Yoonkyung Chang, from the Ewha Womans University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues examined the correlation of oral hygiene indicators with atrial fibrillation and heart failure risk in Korea. Data were included for 161,286 individuals from the National Health Insurance System-Health Screening Cohort.

The researchers identified 4,911 and 7,971 cases of atrial fibrillation and heart failure (3.0 and 4.9 percent, respectively) during a median follow-up of 10.5 years. Frequent tooth brushing (at least three times per day) was significantly associated with a reduced risk for atrial fibrillation and heart failure (hazard ratios, 0.90 and 0.88, respectively) after adjustment for multiple confounding variables. There were negative and positive associations for professional dental cleaning and number of missing teeth ≥22 with the risk for heart failure (hazard ratios, 0.93 and 1.32, respectively).

“The causality of these associations is unclear, and it is certainly too early to recommend tooth brushing for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “While the role of inflammation in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease is becoming more and more evident, intervention studies are needed to define strategies of public health importance.”

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