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Dentist link to heart

Monday November 14th, 2011

Professional dental treatment may dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack, researchers have reported.

The latest study of the subject suggests that professional cleaning helps cut the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The research in Taiwan was reported to the conference of the American Heart Association in Florida, USA.

It showed that people who had had their teeth cleaned or scraped by a dentist had 24 per cent reduced risk of heart attack and a 13 per cent reduced risk of stroke.

One explanation is simply that people who look after their teeth are more likely to look after themselves in general. But some researchers believe that gum infection can increase risk of heart disease.

Researchers studied some 100,000 people, of whom about half had received professional tooth scaling at some point. Researchers were unable to make adjustments for weight and smoking.

Researcher Dr Emily Zu-Yin Chen, a cardiologist at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, said: “Protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year."

But Natasha Stewart, of the British Heart Association, said: "It’s already known that poor oral hygiene may be associated with more well known risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking and poor diet.

"So it’s important to make sure that good personal hygiene forms a basic part of a healthy lifestyle.

"Keeping your teeth clean and visiting the dentist is important but if you really want to help look after your heart, make sure you eat a balanced diet, avoid  smoking and take part in regular physical activity."

American Heart Association November 13 2011

Tags: Asia | General Health | Heart Health | North America | UK News

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