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Heart Attacks Linked To Mouth Germs

April 1, 2009

U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday that people with the most germs in their mouths are the most likely to have heart attacks.

The researchers said that their study compared heart attack victims to healthy volunteers and found the heart patients had higher numbers of bacteria in their mouths.

Their findings add to a growing body of evidence that oral hygiene is linked to overall health.

Oelisoa Andriankaja and colleagues at the University at Buffalo, New York were trying to find if any particular species of bacteria might be causing heart attacks.

Their test on 386 heart attack victims and 840 people free of heart trouble showed two types were more common among the heart attack patients, Tannerella forsynthesis and Prevotella intermedia.

However, the people who had the most bacteria of all types in their mouths were the most likely to have had heart attacks, the researchers said in a meeting of the International Association of Dental Research in Miami.

“In other words, the total number of ‘bugs’ is more important than one single organism.”

It is still unsure how bacteria might be linked with heart attacks but several studies have shown an association between gum disease and heart disease.  Bacteria may set off general inflammation that in turn causes blood to clot.

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