|Florida Dental Association|
The researcher who presented the findings of the multi-year study at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Orlando on Sunday surmised that professional tooth cleaning appears to reduce inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease.
"Protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year," said Dr. Zu-Yin Chen, a cardiology fellow at Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, who presented the findings.
The analysis of more 100,000 people beginning in 2007 was based on data in the Taiwan National Health insurance data base. None of the study subjects had a history of prior heart attack or stroke, but the analysis did not adjust for risk factors such as smoking or obesity.
Researchers said a higher frequency of professional tooth cleaning led to a greater reduction in heart risk. They defined higher frequency as at least two visits to the dentist for a cleaning in two years.
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot, editing by Bernard Orr)