Even if you hate the thought of a dentist’s chair—or just always lose your yearly check-up reminder card—here’s reason enough to schedule a visit today: going to the dentist may lower your risk for heart attack and stroke, according to a new study from Taiwan.
Researchers tracked more than 100,000 people for an average of seven years. People who had their teeth scraped and cleaned by a dentist or hygienist twice or more in a 2-year period had an overall 24 per cent lower risk of heart attack and 13 per cent lower risk of stroke overall compared to those who had less frequent dental cleanings.
But how does keeping your mouth clean help your ticker? Regular dentist visits and oral hygiene reduces inflammation-causing bacterial growth—bacteria like Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum found in dental plaques. Not only does bacteria like P. gingivalis cause periodontal disease, but also the chronic inflammation at the initial site of infection in your mouth can accelerate inflammation that causes atherosclerosis, says Zu-Yin Chen, M.D., coauthor of the study.
“Atherosclerosis is seen as an inflammatory process, so the more inflammation you have, the likelier you'll have plaques forming in the blood vessels leading to potential heart attack or stroke,” says Chen.
Even if you haven’t been to the dentist lately, there are ways you can mimic professional cleaning at home. Regularly use these five best teeth products for men to not only keep your teeth pearly white but also cavity and plaque free.
And to remember to visit your dentist (or any doctor for that matter), add your next appointment into your phone or e-mail calendar while you’re still in the doctor's office. No more wondering "when do I need to have that next cleaning?"