JAN 05, 2023 9:00 AM PST

Dental Hygiene Improves Heart Attack Outcomes

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in The Journal of the American Dental Association has shown that patients who receive regular periodontal care have better outcomes after heart attacks, including shorter length of stays in the hospital and more follow-up visits.

The retrospective cohort study included 2,370 patients who had a heart attack in 2017 and who had dental and medical coverage in 2016–2018. The patients were grouped based on whether they had received active periodontal care, controlled periodontal care (periodontal maintenance), regular care such as dental cleanings, or no dental care during 2016–2018. After controlling for other factors, the group who received controlled periodontal care had the shortest length of stay in the hospital following a heart attack, and this group also had more follow-up visits. The group who received no dental care, on the other hand, had the longest hospital stays after a heart attack. There were no significant differences between the other groups and the no-care group.

Dental health is often thought to affect overall health, but the exact relationship between the two is poorly understood. The study’s lead author noted that this research contributes to the growing body of evidence linking dental health to overall health. Dental health must be considered when examining the medical state and health of patients, and early interventions to improve dental health could potentially help patients who are at risk of heart disease as stated by dental experts at Vera Smile. Additionally, the lead author of the study emphasized that insurance companies should take dental coverage seriously as a major factor in overall health; rather than offering dental coverage as an optional add-on, it may be wise (and financially advantageous) to include dental coverage in routine medical coverage.

Sources: The Journal of the American Dental Association, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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