Cleaning your teeth often, every day, is linked to a lower risk for heart problems. A new study found that brushing your teeth several times a day resulted in fewer cases of heart failure and atrial fibrillation— the term for an uneven heartbeat.
Heart failure happens when the heart cannot do its job of pumping blood through the body.
What the research found is that brushing your teeth three times a day, or more, was linked to a ten percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation. It was also linked to a twelve percent lower risk of heart failure.
The study was published last Monday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
The researchers examined information on more than 161,000 people in Korea with no history of heart problems.
They followed up ten and a half years later, and found that three percent had developed uneven heart rhythms and almost five percent had developed heart failure.
All the participants in the study were part of the Korean National Health Insurance System, and aged 40 to 79. They had usual medical exams between 2003 and 2004. Information was collected on their height, weight, laboratory tests, sicknesses, and lifestyle. They also noted their mouth health in connection with cleaning.
Heart and teeth health connection
You may wonder, how are teeth health and heart health connected?
Earlier research suggests that not taking care to clean and brush teeth leads to bacteria in the blood. This can cause inflammation, and increases the risk for unusual heartbeat and heart failure.
A study last year by the American Heart Association showed that brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes may lower the risk of cardiovascular, or heart, diseases.
That study looked at a smaller group of fewer than 700 people. The AHA said that the researchers found that people who brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes were three times more at risk, compared to those who brush at least twice a day for two minutes.
Gums are the soft tissue structure that hold the teeth. They need to be cleaned as well. Experts say if gums are not cared for this way they can become inflamed. They say there is a connection between such inflammation, and future heart disease.
The lead investigator of the new study is Tae-Jin Song, a doctor and professor at Mokdong Hospital at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. He noted “we studied a large group over a long period, which adds strength to our findings.”
But he said that the research was limited to one country and as an observational study does not prove causation.
The American Dental Association agrees. The organization said “this study is interesting, and while it may suggest an association between tooth brushing and heart health, it does not show a direct connection.”
To have good oral health, the ADA advises people to:
- Brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between their teeth once per day
- Maintain a healthy diet
- See a dentist regularly
Mouth care companies have taken note. Some manufacture electric toothbrushes programmed to run for two minutes. That way, people do not have to watch the time while brushing their teeth.
I’m Anne Ball.
Anne Ball wrote this story. Caty Weaver was the editor.
What do you think of this story? Write to us in the comments section below.
Quiz - Take Care of Your Teeth, Take Care of Your Heart
Start the Quiz to find out
Words in This Story
brush – v. to clean something with a brush—a tool with many stiff hairs or fibers used to clean or smooth
participant – n. a person who is involved in an activity or event
inflammation – n. a condition in which a part of your body becomes red, swollen, and painful
causation – n. the act or process of causing something to happen
association – n. a connection or relationship between things or people
fluoride – n. a chemical that is sometimes added to drinking water and toothpaste to help keep teeth healthy
Everyday Grammar: Verbs and Prepositions - Talk about
6 Minute English
Curbing our plastic addiction
EPISODE 181011 / 11 OCT 2018
This week's question:
The first synthetic plastic – that's plastic made entirely from man-made materials - was created over 100 years ago. Do you know what its brand name was? Was it…
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
the natural process of something being destroyed or breaking down into small particles
something that can decay naturally without harming anything
something that affects or involves our mind
disagreement between two opposing ideas
taking action to change something – it could be social or political change, or a change in our behaviour or attitude
a big push
people are strongly encouraged or persuaded to do something, usefully by force
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Hello, and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.
And hello, I'm Rob.
Today we're talking about plastic.
Yes, it's our addiction to plastic that is of concern because this material doesn't decay very quickly, so once we've used it, it hangs around for a very long time.
It is a problem – and decay, by the way, describes the natural process of something being destroyed or breaking down into small particles. We hear so much about the consequences of having too much waste plastic around, don't we?
Indeed. Not only does it cause a mess - wildlife, particularly marine animals, are at risk when they become entangled in plastic waste, or ingest it. It's an issue that needs tackling – or dealing with. And that's what we'll be discussing today and finding out what could be done to solve this plastic crisis.
OK, first, let's challenge you to answer a question about plastic, Rob. The first synthetic plastic – that's plastic made entirely from man-made materials - was created over 100 years ago. Do you know what its brand name was? Was it…
b) Lucite or
I'm no expert, so I'll say c) Formica.
Well, we'll reveal the answer at the end of the programme. Now let's talk more about plastic. This man-made substance is everywhere - from clothing to crisp packets, and bottles to buckets.
But the problem is that most of it isn't biodegradable – that's a word that describes something that can decay naturally without harming anything. Each year, 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced and 40% of that is single-use. So why don't we stop using it?
It's not that easy, Rob, and it's something Lucy Siegle, a BBC reporter and author, has been talking about. She was speaking in a discussion on the Costing the Earth programme on BBC Radio 4, and explained the issue we have with quitting plastic but also how our attitude is changing…
Lucy Siegle, BBC reporter and author
We have this weird psychological attachment to this material that's been around and it's like a push and pull. At the one time, we're so horrified by what we're seeing – the whales dying, the oceans vomiting plastic, beaming in from all over the world, and at the same time we're being told we can't live without it, so that creates a psychological dissonance –which I think is the barrier to behavioural change but I'm finding now awareness has peaked and it's going over into activism.
She mentioned the word psychological – that's something that affects or involves our mind – so here, psychological attachment means that in our mind we feel we have to use plastic – we're addicted.
But we also see the negative impact of plastic – like whales dying – and in our mind we're also thinking we must stop! This has created what Lucy says is a 'psychological dissonance' - dissonance means a disagreement between two opposing ideas – so we're having an argument in our head about the right thing to do – this is the 'push and pull' of thoughts she referred to.
And this dissonance has been the barrier to us trying to solve the plastic issue – but now we're starting to do something about it – we're taking action to reduce our plastic waste – we're turning to activism. That's taking action to change something – it could be social or political change, or a change in our behaviour or attitude.
Of course there has been a big push – that means people have been strongly encouraged – to recycle.
Maybe in an ideal world the best thing to do is go plastic-free – but that isn't easy, is it?
No, it isn't, and it's something Lucy Siegle spoke about. Getting rid of plastic in our lives is a gradual process. But where does she think we can make the biggest difference?
Lucy Siegle, BBC reporter and author
I really think that to concentrate on stopping the flow of plastics into your life is easier and more effective in the long term, than trying to go plastic-free from the outset. We are in the UK, a supermarket culture, so a lot of the tips and tricks to decreasing the flow of plastic are getting round supermarket culture.
She says we have a supermarket culture in the UK. Culture here describes a way of life – or a way that we generally behave – and in terms of food shopping, we tend to do that in supermarkets.
So, for example, customers can make a big difference by putting pressure on supermarkets to use less plastic packaging. It does seem that the future of plastic is in our hands – we need to be more careful about how and when we use it – and use our collective power to force change if it's needed.
But there's no doubt plastic is useful for many things so it will be a long time before it disappears altogether.
And earlier I asked you what was the name of the first synthetic plastic, invented over a 100 years ago. Was it…
b) Lucite or
And I said c) Formica. Was I right?
Formica is a type of hard plastic used for covering tables and working areas in kitchens – but it's not the oldest type. That was Bakelite.
I may have got that wrong but hopefully I'll have more success recapping some of today's vocabulary – starting with decay, which describes the natural process of something being destroyed or breaking down into small particles – which plastic takes a long time to do.
Next we had biodegradable – that's a word to describe something that can decay naturally without harming anything.
Then we had psychological – that's something that affects or involves your mind.
Next up, we had dissonance, which describes a disagreement between two opposing ideas.
And then we mentioned activism - that's taking action to change something. We also mentioned the phrase a big push which means people are strongly encouraged or persuaded to do something, usefully by force.
And finally we had culture. In our context of supermarket culture, it describes a way of life – or a way that we generally behave.
Thanks, Neil. Now, remember you can find more learning English programmes and materials on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. That's it for now but please join us next time for 6 Minute English. Goodbye.
More efforts needed to tackle Thailand's stark inequality
How do we compare the life of a young boy born in a wealthy family in Bangkok, with his family endowment opening the door to high-paying jobs through quality education in the country’s best school and accessing information and technologies that being fully digitally literate allows, to that of a young girl born in a hilltribe in northern Thailand or a LGBTI person from a rural area struggling to find a decent job after attending the local public school and too often still victim of discrimination, significantly limiting opportunities to fulfil their life aspirations?
It is evident that circumstances almost entirely beyond their control have already set them on unequal – and likely irreversible – courses in life.
Moreover, inequality in Thailand, like in many countries, is today exacerbated by climate change, economic downturn, and technological transformation. Increasing incidents of floods and droughts destroy crops and depress the income of farmers who take to the street to seek government assistance. In addition, the lacklustre economic growth together with looming disruptions in various industries have led to factories shutting down and workers losing their jobs. Such a situation results in growing frustration, as more people feel that economic and political structures are rigged against them.
These challenges to sustainable and inclusive development support the core analysis of the new UNDP’s Global Human Development Report entitled “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st century” launched on December 9.
In addition to strong analyses of issues, it presents decision-makers with the choice to overturn deep-rooted systemic drivers of inequality. In doing so, there is the opportunity to simultaneously eliminate extreme deprivation while equipping everyone to live with dignity, manage the fallout of our planet heating up and benefit from modern breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics.
According to the 2019 Human Development Report, Thailand achieves a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.765, an improvement compared to previous years. Featuring at 77th place in world rankings (out of 189 economies), Thailand is the developing country that has progressed the most in the world in its HDI over the period 2013-2018, up by 12 ranks. This shows the country’s remarkable progress in laying the foundation for human development, as indicated in the continued improvement in life expectancy at birth, years of schooling, and income per capita.
However, when discounted for inequality, Thailand’s HDI declines by 16.9 per cent to 0.635. If not addressed, it will only get harder to correct the widening trajectory of inequality as the climate crisis and technological disruptions are already hitting the poorest population the hardest and earliest. This calls for urgent action.
The United Nations Development Programme acknowledges the efforts of the Thai government and other development actors in adopting policies and taking initiatives to address inequalities. An elected parliament and expected local elections indicate commitment to enhance people’s participation and support local authorities in the delivery of better targeted public services. The private sector’s active engagement is reflected in their strong mobilisation for the sustainable development goals with the recent launch of the Thailand Responsible Business Network. Thailand is also the first Asian country to formally adopt a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. These are just a few but critical tools endorsed by Thailand to foster sustainable human development.
That said, more steps need to be taken. To effectively reduce inequality within the country, the right policy mix should be complemented with greater decentralisation of public administration for those policies to translate into action at local level. Enabling the citizens, particularly those that are marginalised by geography, income or disability, to thrive rather than just survive in an era of climate crisis and technological transformation should be at the forefront of inequality reduction strategies. In addition, the private sectors’ initiatives to support sustainable development should go beyond tackling environmental problems and encompass social dimensions and inclusion.
On gender inequality, policies should seek to change social norms and eliminate discrimination, including against LGBT, through education, awareness and changing incentives.
Most of all, to tackle the sense of disenchantment and dispossession underpinning the discontent of many, leaders must redouble their efforts to remove the alienating, insurmountable and unfair obstacles their citizens face in achieving the life they want for themselves. If not, the growing resentment and frustration may weaken social cohesion and people’s trust in government, institutions, and each other.
Inequality in Thailand is not inevitable. The UNDP is committed to continue its support to the government and other development actors to make the difficult choices needed to provide all citizens – now and in the future – with a fair and dignified lot in life, powered by technology, shielded from prejudice and protected from an increasingly unforgiving climate.
Cold weather forecast for most of the country
By The Nation
In the Central region, including Bangkok and its vicinity, and the East, the minimum temperatures will range from 12-22 degrees Celsius. The Department has urged peolle to beware of fire due to the changeable and dry weather.
The stronger northeast monsoon across the Gulf the South would bring strong winds and waves up to 2 metres high northwards from Chumphon province, waves 2-3 metres high in the lower Gulf from Surat Thani southwards and waves above 3 metres in thundershower areas.
The Department has urged people along the eastern coastline of the South to beware of inshore surges. All ships should proceed with caution, and small boats around the Gulf should stay ashore.
The weather forecast for the next 24 hours is as follows:
North: Cold with strong winds; temperature to fall by 1-2°C; minimum temperature 5-12°C; maximum temperature 23-28°C. Very cold with isolated frost on mountaintops; minimum temperature 1-6°C; northeasterly winds at 15-35kph.
Northeast: Cold to very cold with strong winds; minimum temperature 7-15°C; maximum temperature 25-28°C; cold to very cold on mountaintops; minimum temperature 2-8°C; northeasterly winds at 15-35kph.
Central: Cool to cold with strong winds; minimum temperature 13-19°C; maximum temperature 26-28°C; northeasterly winds 15-35kph.
East: Cool to cold with strong winds; minimum temperature 16-22°C; maximum temperature 27-32°C; northeasterly winds 20-35kph; wave height 1-2 metres and above 2 metres offshore.
South (East Coast): Cool with strong winds; isolated thundershowers mostly in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces; minimum temperature 18-26°C; maximum temperature 27-30°C; Chumphon northwards: Northeasterly winds 20-35kph; waves about 2 metres and above in thundershower areas Surat Thani southwards; northeasterly winds 20-40kph; waves 2-3 metres high and above 3 metres in thundershower areas.
South(West Coast): Partly cloudy and strong winds; isolated thundershowers mostly in Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces; Minimum temperature 22-25°C; maximum temperature 29-33°C; northeasterly winds 20-35kph; waves about a metre high and 2-3 metres offshore.
Metropolitan: Cool with strong winds; minimum temperature 17-19°C; maximum temperature 27-29°C; northeasterly winds 15-35kph.
December 10, 2019