Plaque removal could lower the risk of heart attack or stroke, a new study suggests.
The study focused on Plaque HD, a type of toothpaste that highlights dental plaque for easier removal with a brush. A new study showed that improved oral hygiene can help lower the risk of diseases such as stroke or heart attack. The team explains inflammation is closely linked with the development of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fats and other substances as plaque inside the arteries.
“The current findings are similar to those from our previous pilot trial,” said Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H. and senior author of the paper.
“Whether this plaque-identifying toothpaste decreases heart attacks or strokes requires a large-scale randomized trial of sufficient size and duration. These results provide a stronger rationale to conduct such trials. If positive, the results of these trials would have significant potential clinical and public health implications.”
Around 47.2% of American adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, a figure which goes up to 70.1% for adults 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and stroke seem to be connected to periodontal disease, past research has also found.
The trial Hennekens mentioned was a randomized pilot trial whose results were published ahead of the study in the American Journal of Medicine. The results showed that the toothpaste does indeed help reduce hs-CRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein) to a statistically relevant degree. The product contains several cleaning agents that can weaken the core of plaque and help users more effectively visualize and remove it with the brush. All participants in the trial were given the same brushing protocol and randomly received a 30-day supply of either Plaque HD or a placebo toothpaste. The researchers assessed hs-CRP levels for each participant during the course of the trial.
The team found a statistically significant reduction in hs-CRP, a protein used as a marker for future heart attack and stroke risks. They plan to extend the research with another randomized trial looking into the effect of this toothpaste on the development and progression of atherosclerosis in the coronary and carotid arteries; these vessels supply blood to the blood and brain respectively, and their inflammation is a known precursor for atherosclerosis.
The report “Randomized Trial of Plaque-Identifying Toothpaste: Decreasing Plaque and Inflammation” has been published in The American Journal of Medicine.