01.Preventative dental care reduces heart disease risk
A key risk factor for heart disease can be markedly reduced with a simple and non-surgical gum treatment, also known as a scale and clean, according to the findings from a new study conducted among Indigenous Australians.
One year after a single gum treatment, the controlled University of Sydney study found a significant decline in the thickening of the wall of the carotid artery, which is equal to the effects of lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass or reversing the effects of aging.
Co-author of the study and vascular disease expert, Dr Michael Skilton, said “the effect is comparable to a 30 per cent fall in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – commonly referred to as 'bad' cholesterol”.
“It’s also equivalent to the effects of reversing four years of aging, 8 kg/m2 lower body mass index, or 25 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure.”
Heart disease is one of Australia’s biggest killers and several studies have indicated a connection to gum disease. Scientists believe the reason behind the link between these two systemic diseases is inflammation.
The landmark study suggests that the gum treatment has a systemic impact beyond just treating gum disease, said Dr Skilton.
While there’s no reason to believe the study’s findings aren't applicable to everyone, it’s perhaps of particular importance to Indigenous Australians who generally have poorer oral health and higher rates of cardiovascular disease. However, up to one in four Australians suffer from moderate to severe gum disease.
The study is published in the current issue of Hypertension.