October 22nd, 2013
A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley that was published in the journal Health Economics suggests that women who consistently get dental care can lower their risk of stroke, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems by at least one-third!
The university researchers used data of individuals from nearly 7,000 registered for the Health and Retirement Study between the ages of 44 and 88. They used a longitudinal approach, keeping track of the same individuals over time. These participants were given survey questions, including the frequency of dentist visits and if there were any instances of heart, angina, stroke, or congestive heart failure in their health history within the previous two years. The data from the Health and Retirement Study was collected every two years from 1996 to 2004. While there had been previous studies that have found a link between oral health and cardiovascular disease, this study was able to show a causal effect, where dental care leads to fewer heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues.
It was also found that the same benefits that are attributed to women’s health were not found for men. However, the researchers explain that this was not completely surprising. They believe that these findings demonstrate the differences in how men and women develop cardiovascular disease. Other studies have suggested that estrogen has a protect effect against heart disease, preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. Researchers note that it is not until women reach menopause at age 50 to 55 that they start catching up to men.
While this study proves to be great news for women, the study authors note that in order for dental care to have a protective effect, it should be done early in the development of cardiovascular disease. Don’t wait until tomorrow to practice healthy dental care habits! Be proactive in taking care of your teeth through daily brushing and flossing. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org