Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. It’s also one of the most expensive health conditions in our nation, costing more than $200 billion a year to treat. What if there were an inexpensive and highly effective way to reduce the risk of heart disease and its cost to treat?
Fortunately, there is. One way you can reduce your heart disease risk is to visit your dentist regularly. According to some studies, regular visits to the dentist can reduce your cardiovascular risk by 14%. This is another reason why regular dental visits are the best value in healthcare.
If you’re looking for a great way to reduce your heart disease risks and save money, schedule an appointment with a New Jersey dentist at River Edge Dental.
Seeing the Dentist Protects Your Heart
In recent years, there have been several large studies looking at the link between oral hygiene and heart disease risk. These studies have come to the same conclusions: clean teeth lead to a healthy heart. The three strongest of these studies draw their data from Korea’s large and detailed health records system.
In one of these studies, researchers looked at nearly 250,000 individuals aged 40 or older who had an oral health screening and had no history of major cardiovascular events. They followed these individuals for a median of 9.5 years, recording nearly 15,000 major cardiovascular events. Analyzing these events showed that brushing your teeth one more time a day reduced your cardiovascular risk by 9%. In addition, visiting the dentist regularly (at least once a year) for professional cleaning reduced cardiovascular risk by 14%.
Another study using similar data looked at 161,000 subjects in a specific screening population with highly complete data. It looked at more specific types of heart problems: atrial fibrillation and heart failure over a median of 10.5 years. In this study, brushing your teeth three or more times a day reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation by 10% and the risk of heart failure by 12%. In addition, it found professional dental cleanings reduced the risk of heart failure by 7%.
Both of these studies were published in 2019. These recent studies show strong evidence that taking good care of your teeth can reduce your cardiovascular risk.
Good Oral Hygiene Reduces Stroke Risk
However, a more recent study shows that it’s not just your heart that benefits from good oral hygiene. In this study, published in 2021, researchers looked at the health records of nearly 207,000 patients. Over a median follow-up of 10.4 years, they recorded over 7300 strokes.
Analysis showed that people who brushed their teeth three or more times a day had a 22% lower risk of stroke. On the other hand, people who had four or more dental cavities had a 28% higher risk of stroke.
Although this study didn’t specifically cite visiting the dentist as a way to reduce risk, it seems likely that this will also help to protect against strokes.
Other Benefits of Regular Visits to the Dentist
Just reducing your cardiovascular risk might be enough to make visiting the dentist one of the best values in healthcare. However, that’s not all you get from seeing a River Edge dentist regularly.
In addition to heart benefits, regular visits to the dentist might reduce your risk of:
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia
That’s because regular visits to the dentist can reduce your risk of gum disease, and gum disease is associated with all these conditions. Diabetes and gum disease are mutually reinforcing. People with diabetes have a higher risk of gum disease, and people with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.
Oral bacteria produce many toxins, and some of these toxins seem to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints. Gum disease bacteria have methods to deceive and corrupt your immune system, making rheumatoid arthritis more likely.
The tricks that oral bacteria play on your immune system might also increase your cancer risk. Chronic inflammation (which gum disease can trigger) can make it more likely that you will develop cancer. In addition, oral bacteria can make it harder for your immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
Beyond all this, a visit to the dentist helps your smile stay bright and can eliminate sources of chronic bad breath. Now that’s a great investment in your wellness and happiness.
Visit a Dentist in New Jersey
Now you understand how much a visit to the dentist can benefit your heart and other aspects of your health. Hopefully, if you’re overdue for a visit to the dentist, you’re ready to plan one now.
If you are in the River Edge area, please call (201) 343-4044 or use our online form today to request an appointment at River Edge Dental.
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