Posted on Dec 08, 2011, 6 a.m.
People who go to the dentist for regularly scheduled tooth cleanings are 24% less likely to have a heart attack.
Previously, researchers have identified that inflammation is a common problem in both gum disease and heart disease, and a number of studies have linked chronic inflammation to hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Zu-Yin Chen, from the Veterans General Hospital (Taiwan), and colleagues reviewed the records of more than 100,000 people, average age 38 years, registered in Taiwan's national health insurance database. About half had received at least one cleaning; the other half had never had a cleaning. None had suffered a heart attack or stroke at the study’s start, and researchers followed them for an average of seven years. Results showed that people who had their teeth professionally cleaned at least once every two years were 24% less likely to have a heart attack, as compared with those who skipped the hygienist. As well, the risk of stroke among those having regular dental cleanings dropped by 13%.
Zu-Yin Chen, et al. “The Association of Tooth Scaling and Decreased Cardiovascular Disease: A Nationwide Population-Based Study” [Abstract 2026]. Presented at American Heart Association Annual Meeting 2011, November 16, 2011.