The Recipe Doctor

From low-fat recipes to recipes designed for persons with diabetes, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, shares recipes and advice to create healthy meals that are guaranteed to please. [Editor's note: Elaine no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]



Keeping Your Mouth Clean May Help Your Heart

Study results from the Periodontal Disease Center, University of Buffalo

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

How clean is your mouth? Believe it or not, the answer to that question might help or hurt your heart. The higher the amount of two types of oral bacteria—Tannerella forsynthesis and Preventella intermedia—and in particular the higher the total number of bacteria in the mouth, the higher the risk of heart attack, a University of Buffalo study shows. (The results of this study were presented during a poster session at the International Association of Dental Research General Session in April 2009.)

In the study, samples of dental plaque were collected from 12 sites in the gums of two groups: men and women who suffered a heart attack and men and women who were free of heart trouble. Dental plaque samples were telling because bacteria tend to adhere to it. The researchers found that an increase in the number of periodontal bacteria increased the odds of having a heart attack. More research must be done to understand exactly what is at play here, but we should all want to keep the amount of oral bacteria low anyway, right?

What do the researchers suggest is the best way to eliminate bad oral bacteria? “What is most likely to help improve oral health is to brush twice daily, floss daily, and use mouthwash as an adjunct to the brushing and flossing,” says Karen Falkner, PhD, associate director for Research Studies, Periodontal Disease Center, University of Buffalo.

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
The Recipe Doctor Blog

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