More mouth germs increase risk of heart attackApril 2nd, 2009 - 9:00 am ICT by IANS
New York, April 2 (IANS) People with more germs in their mouths are more prone to a heart attack, says a new American study.
Though many studies have hinted at a link between bacteria that cause gum disease and heart attack, there was not conclusive proof of this. But the new study clearly links oral hygiene to cardio-vascular health.
Researchers now believe that bacteria in the mouth cause general inflammation, leading to blood clots and then a heart attack.
In their study, researchers at the University at Buffalo picked up 386 men and women (35 to 69 years of age) who had suffered a heart attack.
They compared the heart attack victims to 840 people free of heart trouble by collecting samples of dental plaque, where germs adhere, from 12 sites in the gums of all participants.
All the samples were analyzed for the six common types of periodontal bacteria and the total number of bacteria.
The researchers found that heart patients had much more of each type of bacteria than the healthy volunteers in their mouths.
Though the researchers linked two species of bacteria - Tannerella Forsynthesis and Preventella Intermedia - to a higher risk of heart attack, the total number of germs or bacteria played was more important to heart health.
“The message here is that even though some specific periodontal pathogens (germs) have been found to be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, the total bacterial pathogenic burden is more important than the type of bacteria,” said study leader Oelisoa Andriankaja.
“In other words, the total number of ‘bugs’ is more important than one single organism,” she said.
The study has been presented at the on-going International Association of Dental Research meeting in Miami.
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