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Brush & Floss! Is Oral Hygiene Linked to A-Fib?

Warren Welsh, from Australia, answers ‘Yes’ to that oral hygiene question. He wrote me about how he developed bleeding gums and felt it contributed to his Atrial Fibrillation diagnosis. (A 2010 catheter ablation made him A-Fib free. Read Warren’s story.)

Brush and floss regularly we were taught as kids, but who knew that oral hygiene is linked with A-Fib?

Dental Cleanings and New-Onset A-Fib

A study in Taiwan compared a group without A-Fib who received dental cleaning at least once a year to a similar group who didn’t. Both groups were followed for five years. The regular dental cleanings group had a lower occurrence rate of new-onset A-Fib.

More frequent dental visits (2-3 times a year) further reduced the risk.

Graphic of tooth

Good Oral Hygiene Reduces Inflammation

Studies have shown that inflammation is an independent risk factor both for the initiation of A-Fib and its continuation once you have it.

Good oral hygiene prevents A-Fib, probably by reducing the amount of inflammation of the gums and periodontitis (gum disease).

Take Away

Good oral hygiene reduces the risk of new-onset A-Fib and of sustaining it once you’ve got it.

For more about A-Fib and dental health, read my FAQ question about Local Anesthesia Used in Dentistry May Trigger Your A-Fib.

References for this article
Goldie, Maria Perno. Atrial fibrillation: link to oral disease? Dentistry iQ. 4/19/2013.

Chen S.J., et al. Dental scaling and atrial fibrillation: A nationwide cohort study. (2013) International Journal of Cardiology.

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