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Study Reaffirms Value of Professional Dental Cleanings
Professional tooth scaling was associated with fewer heart attacks and strokes in a Taiwanese study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011. Among more than 100,000 people, those who had their teeth scraped and cleaned by a dental professional had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and 13% lower risk of stroke compared to those who had never had a dental cleaning. The participants were followed for an average of 7 years.
Scientists considered tooth scaling frequent if it occurred at least twice or more in 2 years; occasional tooth scaling was once or less in 2 years.
The study included more than 51,000 adults who had received at least one full or partial tooth scaling and a similar number of people matched with gender and health conditions who had no tooth scaling. None of the participants had a history of heart attack or stroke at the beginning of the study.
The study didn't adjust for heart attack and stroke factors-such as weight, smoking, and race-that weren't included in the Taiwan National Health Insurance database, the source of the information used in this analysis.
"Protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year," said Emily (Zu-Yin) Chen, MD, a cardiology fellow at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan.
Commenting further, Dr. Chen said professional tooth scaling appears to reduce inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease or stroke.