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Proper oral care is crucial for long-term heart health, as indicated by a recent study. The study suggests that oral bacteria linked to oral cancers, gum inflammation, and bad breath may increase the risk of heart disease, potentially leading to heart attacks or strokes.

Oral hygiene can prevent risk of heart disease

Individuals who have antibodies fighting against the oral bacterium, Fusobacterium nucleatum, may have a slightly higher risk of experiencing cardiovascular events, according to a recent study. The presence of these antibodies suggests that the person has either had a past infection or is currently infected with this bacterium.

According to Flavia Hodel, the lead author from the School of Life Sciences at EPFL in Switzerland, F. nucleatum could potentially contribute to cardiovascular risk in two ways. Firstly, it may cause increased systemic inflammation due to the presence of the bacteria in the mouth. Secondly, it may directly colonize the arterial walls or plaque lining the arterial walls.

Heart disease, accounting for approximately one-third of worldwide deaths, results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The primary manifestation, coronary heart disease, develops due to the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries, leading to symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, and breathlessness that may progress to heart attacks.

Hodel explains that the role of infections in the development of coronary heart disease is not fully understood, despite significant progress in understanding the disease. Researchers aim to bridge this knowledge gap by conducting a comprehensive study on infections, inflammation, and genetic risk factors.

Individuals with, F. nucleatum antibodies at risk of heart disease

The study of 3,500 Swiss participants over 12 years revealed 6% experienced cardiovascular events. Blood tests targeting 15 viruses, six bacteria, and a parasite found elevated risk in those with antibodies against Fusobacterium nucleatum. High genetic predisposition for coronary heart disease correlated with increased cardiovascular event likelihood.

Therefore treating oral infections could reduce the chances of developing heart disease. If future research confirms the link between this specific bacterium and heart ailments, new methods could be developed to identify individuals at risk and prevent cardiovascular events.