Take Dental Care to Heart

Having your teeth professionally cleaned and scraped may do more than just brighten your smile. It could reduce your risk of having a heart attack and stroke.

A study in Taiwan found that people who had their teeth scraped and cleaned, also called tooth scaling, by a dentist or dental hygienist had a 24 percent lower risk of heart attack. Additionally, their risk for stroke was 13 percent lower. This was compared to people who never had a dental cleaning.

“Protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year,” said Dr. Emily (Zu-Yin) Chen, a cardiology fellow at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, in a news release from the American Heart Association. Professional scaling reduces inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease or stroke, she said.

Findings from the study, which followed 100,000 adults for about seven years, were recently presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting.

The study also showed that the more people had scrapings or cleanings, the lower their risk was for heart attack or stroke compared to people who never or only occasionally had such dental procedures.

Source: American Heart Association press release

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