A growing body of data shows just how important oral hygiene is – not just healthy teeth, but also to avoid life-threatening medical events like heart attacks and strokes. Brushing is a must. But people should also have their teeth cleaned professionally,
A research team from Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan presented a study at the annual assembly of the American Heart Association that shows conclusively why good dental care isn't just about having a nice smile. It can also help people prevent strokes and heart attacks.
The team analyzed the health insurance data of 100,000 people in an average time frame of seven years. When the research began, none of those participating in the study had cardiovascular disease. One half of the test subjects went to have their teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year, while the other half brushed their teeth regularly but did not go for cleanings.
The result? Those who had their teeth cleaned professionally had 13% less chance of stroke, and 24% less chance of a heart attack. Concretely, this means that good dental care is as important to good health as exercise.
Also presented at the American Heart Association meeting was a Swedish study showing that lack of good dental care could lead to severe illness. The study, which included data from 8,000 subjects, found that people with fewer than 21 remaining teeth showed a 69% higher risk of heart attack than subjects with most of their teeth intact.
The bacteria in plaque that causes swelling of the gums can get into the bloodstream and move to other parts of the body causing "trigger" reactions. Experts say it's crucial that people carefully brush their teeth twice a day. In addition, they should have two professional cleanings per year -- and more if the patient already has swollen gums or individual risk factors such as being a smoker.
Read the full story in German by Jörg Zittlau
Photo – bark
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations