Brush and Flossing Your Heart Arteries in Heart Month

Joel Kahn
4 min readFeb 7, 2020

The advice on heart health tips is abundant in February, traditionally celebrated as Heart Month.

The constant reminders that cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death in the Western world are crucial. Educating the public on the research showing that up to 80% of heart deaths are preventable by not smoking, eating a plant heavy diet, and obtaining regular fitness is always of importance. Has we learned anything new to add to those health habits to further advance the prevention of heart disease? Although not a new concept, the link between oral care and heart care is stronger than ever. Indeed, when you brush and floss your teeth, you might consider it to be brushing and flossing your heart!

The newest data linking heart and oral health has been coming from researchers in Korea and other international centers.

1) In a massive study published in late 2018, the National Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS), the only insurance provider in Korea, reported on an oral health screening program provided to participant. Data of 247,696 healthy adults were used for an analysis. During follow up of nearly 10 years, there were cardiovascular (CV) events in 14,893 study participants. The key findings of this data were that:

The self-reported questionnaires suggested that about 30% of participants had periodontal disease, 20% at least one dental caries, and 25% had lost one or more teeth.

Toothbrushing was done at least three times per day by 40% of participants, twice by 45% and once or less by 15%. Also, 26% of participants reported dental visits for professional cleaning at least once a year.

Survival curves time free of CV events showed that better oral health behaviors were associated with fewer CV events. The opposite was the case for different oral disease conditions in a dose-dependent manner.

In multivariable analysis, the number of missing teeth and dental caries were significantly associated with CV events.

Tooth brushing and professional cleaning were still significantly associated with CV events after adjustment. Brushing one more time a day was associated with a 9% lower risk of CV events and regular professional cleaning lowered the risk by 14%.

Frequent toothbrushing and regular professional cleaning were associated with better CV outcomes even in those with poor oral conditions. The…



Joel Kahn

Professor of Cardiology, Summa cum Laude grad, Kahn Center for Longevity and GreenSpace Cafe. @drjkahn. Author The Plant Based Solution NEW