Several studies report a link between CRP and frequency of both dental visits, as well as flossing. CRP is strongly associated with your risk for cardiovascular disease but previous studies have not established a solid link between dental hygiene and your risk of heart disease. In a recent study involving Scottish men and women over an 8 year period, the link was confirmed. The study was a health survey performed between 1995 and 2003 involving over 11869 participants. People who brushed their teeth less than once per day were 70% more likely to have a CVD event and 300% more likely for that event to be fatal than those that brushed twice per day. Wow! Continuing, those that only brushed their teeth once per day, were twice as likely to have a CVD event and twice as likely for that event to be fatal as those that brushed twice per day! Meaning most of us that think we are doing okay by brushing once per day are still twice as likely to die from a heart attack as someone that brushes twice a day.
Researchers also found a correlation with toothbrushing frequency and other risk factors, as people who brushed the least were the likeliest to be obese, smokers, the least active and have the lowest income. But the results were consistent even after adjusting for all other risk factors. So, it appears that those with the healthiest teeth are the likeliest to be healthy. This is confirmed by several other studies that examined tooth health and all cause mortality (death by any cause). Several authors have suggested that this suggests that people who are the healthiest are the likeliest to have healthy teeth. Previous studies analyzing the association between gum disease, flossing and CRP suggest that the most likely culprit is actually the bad bacteria in your mouth, which causes systemic inflammation (indicated by elevated CRP). Combined with the study on brushing frequency, it suggests that those with the healthiest mouth hygiene are likely to be the healthiest. With clear associations between diet and tooth health, it would also suggest that excessive sugar consumption would play a role in this equation. Not forgetting that the bad bacteria in your mouth actually feed on sugar—something we all have “known” since grade school.
Research in this area has exploded in recent years, producing a barrage of interesting studies. The greatest and latest seems to be about Green Tea consumption. With the plethora of research on the many health benefits of at least 1 cup of green tea per day, including weight loss and prevention of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, researchers decided to see what else it may help. As it turns out, the “active ingredients” in green tea are also antimicrobial (kill bad bacteria and viruses) and antifungal, and even go as far as preventing the surviving bacteria from attaching to your teeth. Green tea consumption may help prevent all forms of periodontal disease including cancer of the mouth.
So in short, brush your teeth at least twice per day. Floss every day. Visit your dentist twice per year. Eat a low sugar diet. Drink your green tea and you will have healthy teeth be less likely to die from all disease, particularly heart disease, which is the number 1 cause of death in the US.