Healthy teeth might help protect the heart by preventing cardiac infections, according to German researchers.
Proper oral hygiene can help prevent heart infections known as endocarditis, which start when bacteria finds their way into the blood, according to the German Society for Cardiology, Heart and Circulatory Research (DGK) in Cologne.
Until now, operations were considered one of the major risk factors for the condition.
"But our study showed that 80 percent of endocarditis patients didn't have any surgery before the outbreak of the disease," said Christoph Naber, an assistant professor with the West German Heart Centre in Essen during a DGK meeting.
One theory is that bacteria can enter the bloodstream when people with bad teeth chew. But the evidence is not yet conclusive, experts said.
Yet, it has been shown that people with healthy teeth suffer from irritants carried in the bloodstream less frequently. Apart form that proper oral hygiene can only "have good side effects".