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The Toothbrush is Mightier than the Sword

By Daniel Foster17 Jan 2024

That’s what Franklin said, isn’t it? Or maybe it was something about a “pen,” but he might have said “toothbrush” if he’d known what researchers are discovering. (Perhaps if Franklin had gone out into that electrical storm with a toothbrush hanging off his kite string instead of a key…)

Recent studies have shown a link between gingivitis and heart disease: those with the former are two to three times more likely to have the later. “How, is that possible?” you ask.

Well, you ask excellent questions. The link was unanticipated, so scientists are only now beginning to unearth the reasons; and yes, “reasons” appears to be plural. For instance, one nasty little oral bacteria, porphyromas gingivalis, creates inflammatory toxins that leach into a person’s bloodstream and harden the arteries (a well-known contributor to heart attacks and strokes).1 It is also possible that the bacteria themselves could migrate through the blood stream and cause endocarditis in certain cardiac post-operative cases.

Perhaps this somehow doesn’t surprise you, but it surprised us. Our FlowXL and Aureflow systems include everything your heart surgeon needs to make accurate coronary flow measurements, but we’ve never considered including a complimentary toothbrush with our surgical equipment.

Maybe we’ll just settle for posting this blog instead.

The health threats from gum disease don’t end with the heart. According to a recent study from Taiwan, oral bacteria can even affect the brain. Across the 28,000 individuals in the study, those who had chronic gum disease for more than a decade were 1.7 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.1 Scientists have isolated p. gingivalis toxins from the brains of Alzheimer's patients, so the bloodstream-leaching that threatens the heart may also contribute to neurological deterioration. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it’s certainly worth noting that the areas of the patient’s brains that showed the worst deterioration, also showed higher levels of toxin concentration.

These results are unexpected, but perhaps they shouldn’t be. Our mouths are the entry way for every calorie we consume, whether good or bad. We’ve been told since we were children that unhealthy food contributes to poor teeth and gum health, as well as weight gain, diabetes, etc, so is it truly surprising that our hearts and brains could be directly affected by eating poorly—and indirectly by the gum problems that poor diet causes?

At Transonic, we take a more holistic view of medicine, which is why we build equipment that assists with everything from cerebrovascular surgery, to CABG, to dialysis, to ECMO. Afterall, how can the whole body be healthy if its individual parts are not?

For more information, read the full Yahoo article here.

Thanks for reading—and don’t forget to floss!

               Transonic Systems, Inc.

                                The Measure of Better Results


  1. http://news.yahoo.com/health-risks-not-looking-teeth-122635406.html