.A study, of nearly 22,000 Taiwanese adults age 50 and up, found that those who’d had a professional tooth “scaling” in the past year were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke over the next seven years.
Tooth scaling, sometimes called a deep cleaning, involves removing the “plaques” that can build up on the teeth and deep in tooth pockets within the gum line. Those plaques harbor bacteria that can lead to gum disease.
The new findings, reported in the American Journal of Medicine, do not prove that a good dental cleaning will cut your risk of heart problems.
But the study is in line with past research that has linked gum disease to an increased risk of heart disease, said lead researcher Dr. Zu-Yin Chen, a cardiology fellow at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan.
Since gum disease is caused by bacterial infection, researchers suspect that it may contribute to heart attacks or stroke by causing a chronic state of inflammation in blood vessels.
And studies have shown that treating gum disease can cut the levels of inflammatory substances in the blood, Chen told Reuters Health in an email.