More Bacteria in Mouth Boosts Heart Attack Risks

University of Buffalo researchers have uncovered a link between increased bacteria in the mouth and risk for heart attack. According to the study, more bacteria in the mouth significantly increases the chances of developing heart disease leading to heart attack. The total amount of bacteria present in the mouth, rather than the type, was associated with higher risk of heart attack in a study of 386 men and women.

Oelisoa M. Andriankaja, D.D.S., Ph.D, lead author of the study says, “even though some specific periodontal pathogens 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.”

The study results will be displayed at the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) General Session from April 1-4, to held in Miami, Florida. The researchers found that two bacteria in the mouth put people at risk for heart disease, but more importantly, the total amount of pathogens increase risk for heart attack.

The researchers sampled bacteria in the mouths of 386 men and women between the ages of 35 and 69 who had experienced a heart attack, using 840 people without heart disease as controls. The scientists took samples for six common types of mouth bacteria as well as measuring the total amount of mouth bacteria from twelve sites in the mouth to study the association between mouth bacteria and heart attack.

Two bacteria in particular, Tannerella Forsynthesis and Preventella Intermedia, significantly increased risk of heart attack, but the total amount of mouth bacteria was found to boost heart attack risk when the researchers compared the results of mouth cultures between the group who had experienced heart attack and the control group who had no heart disease.

The researchers say more studies are needed. Measuring the amount mouth bacteria before and after heart attack could further define the role of mouth bacteria and increased risk for heart attack.

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