The Link Between Teeth Cleaning and Cardiovascular Health
If you’re not visiting your dental hygienist for regular teeth cleaning, you might be increasing your heart attack and stroke risks. A seven-year study performed in Taiwan found evidence that people who have a professional teeth cleaning at least once every two years significantly lower their risks of cardiovascular events. Heart attack risk is lowered by 24 percent; stroke risk drops by 13 percent. Something as simple as getting your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental hygienist could potentially save your life.
Taiwan researcher, Zu-Yin Chen, M.D., studied the medical records of more than 100,000 patients in the country’s insurance database. About half of those studied had received at least one teeth cleaning, and the other half had never received one. At the beginning of the study, none of the patients had suffered a major cardiovascular event. However, after the seven-year follow-up study was complete, researchers concluded that people who had more than one teeth cleaning every year also had the lowest risk of heart attack and stroke.
Although the link between teeth cleaning and heart attack risk is not clear, many researchers believe that chronic inflammation is the common denominator in cardiovascular disease and gum disease. Chronic gum infection and inflammation causes periodontitis and tooth loss. Chronic inflammation in arteries narrows and hardens them; this results in strokes and heart attacks. In gum disease, chronic bacterial infection may spread to other parts of the body. A teeth cleaning removes bacteria-filled plaque and tartar from the teeth and beneath the gum line. The removal of oral bacteria and the resulting reduction of inflammation may explain the improved cardiovascular state.
To keep your heart and your teeth healthier, brush twice a day, floss daily, and have a teeth cleaning twice a year.
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