According to a new study, future risk of heart attack can be avoided by brushing your teeth regularly.
Researchers have found that people suffering oral infections also often have cardiovascular problems, and have discovered a particularly strong link between periodontitis and strokes, especially among men and younger people.
A high dose of the commonly prescribed medication, atorvastatin, which boosts blood levels of anti-inflammatory fats called lipoxins and resolvins prevents both gum and heart disease in humans, and even reverses it.
The researchers described the discovery as "exciting and promising" because lipoxins and resolvins also have the advantage of naturally controlling inflammation without suppressing the immune system.
Dr Thomas Van Dyke, of the Forsyth Institute in the United States, said unraveling the role of the oral microbiome and inflammation in cardiovascular disease would likely lead to new preventive and treatment approaches.
Significant epidemiological evidence supports an association between oral infections, particularly periodontitis, and stroke, especially among men and younger individuals. Inflammation plays a major role both in gum and cardiovascular disease.
However, over-the-counter non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can produce significant cardiovascular side effects, which means it is crucial alternative therapies are found.
Dr Van Dyke recommends people take better care of their teeth to potentially lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
The findings are published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.