Trial results suggest toothpaste could reduce risk of heart attack, stroke

New research suggests that Plaque HD could reduce a protein linked to heart attacks and strokes.

Brushing is vital for your teeth, but it could also save your life. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health collaborated on a randomized pilot trial called “Correlation Between Oral Health and Systemic Inflammation” (COHESION), to explore whether Plaque HD®, a plaque identifying toothpaste, could reduce C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).

Plaque HD is said to be the first toothpaste that identifies plaque so it can be removed with directed brushing and its formula contains unique combinations and concentrations of cleaning agents that weaken the core of the plaque structure to help the subject visualize and more effectively remove the plaque. 

But that’s not all it can do, according to the results of the pilot trial, the results of which were published on the American Journal of Medicine’s website. The study showed that Plaque HD produced a statistically significant reduction in hs-CRP among those with elevation at baseline. 

For decades, research has suggested a link between oral health and inflammatory diseases affecting the entire body, such as heart attacks and strokes. Inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and is accurately measured by hs-CRP, a sensitive marker for future risks of heart attacks and strokes, according to 

For this trial, all randomized subjects were given the same brushing protocol and received a 30-day supply of toothpaste containing either Plaque HD or an identical non-plaque identifying placebo toothpaste. 

"The current findings are similar to those from our previous pilot trial," said Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author, first Sir Richard Doll Professor, and senior academic advisor in FAU's Schmidt College of Medicine. "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." 

Based on their findings, Dr. Hennekens and his colleagues at FAU and WSMPH are drafting an investigator-initiated research grant proposal to the NIH. 

More than 47.2 percent of American adults aged 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease, according to the CDC. This only increases with age, as more than 70 percent of adults 65 years and older are affected by the disease. Previous research has indicated that periodontal disease may be linked to a variety of other diseases, including heart disease and stroke. 

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