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Healthy Mouth Roundup

July 31, 2009

Oral hygiene could stave off heart disease.


The importance of a clean mouth. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Doctors have long noted that people with gum disease often also have heart disease. But it’s been hard to tell if gum disease actually increases your risk for heart problems, or whether they’re both influenced by something else. Or maybe the connection is just a coincidence. Now, according to researchers speaking at the annual meeting of the Academy of General Dentistry, bacteria have been identified that cause gum disease and also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. If true, then having good oral hygiene could actually help you live longer, by reducing your susceptibility to the nation’s number one killer.

In another oral health finding, scientists at the Forsyth Institute in Boston have found that people who are obese are more likely to have a particular type of bacteria living in their mouths. Too soon to tell whether the bacteria are a result of obesity or perhaps, intriguingly, a cause of it. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.