Good dental hygiene may reduce bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease or stroke, researchers led by a cardiologist have found
PROBLEM: If you're skeptical about the rule urging you to visit your dentist twice a year, you have good reason to be. Though these appointments are essential to check up on cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer, the number recommended is really just a "best guess" agreed upon by dental and health organizations more than 50 years ago.
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RESULTS: Those who had their teeth scraped and cleaned by a professional had a 24 percent lower risk of heart attack and 13 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who did not.
CONCLUSION: Once-a-year professional tooth scaling protects your heart from disease and stroke.
IMPLICATIONS: Good dental hygiene may reduce inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease or stroke, the authors say in a news release. Perhaps more importantly, this study adds to evidence that oral and cardiovascular health are linked; previously, researchers found that gum disease predicts heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
SOURCE: The full study, "The Association of Tooth Scaling and Decreased Cardiovascular Disease -A Nationwide Population-Based Study," was presented yesterday at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011.
Image: dean bertoncelj/Shutterstock.
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