Regular Dental Cleaning Lowers Stroke A Leading Risk For Long Term Care Need

Regular doctor visits are important for your good health.  Turns out, so are regular visits to your dentist for tooth cleaning.

Those regular cleanings may provide more than just a brighter smile.  Researchers have found that people who have their teeth professionally scraped and cleaned had a 24 percent lower risk of heart attack and 13 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who never had a dental cleaning.

“Poor oral hygiene has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease by a number of studies,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  The national organization tracks and reports data relevant to the increasing risk of needing long term care services.

The findings of the multi-year study were presented at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Orlando, Florida this past week.  The researchers reported that professional tooth cleaning appeared to reduce inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease.
The scientists reported that protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in study participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year.
Researchers studied over 100,000 people beginning in 2007.

According to the report, none of the study subjects had a history of prior heart attack or stroke.  The study however did not take into account or adjust for risk factors such as smoking or obesity.
The medical scientists noted that a higher frequency of professional tooth cleaning led to a greater reduction in heart risk. They defined higher frequency as at least two visits to the dentist for a cleaning in two years.

Stroke is a leading cause of claims for benefits by the eight million Americans who own long term care insurance according to yearly research by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  Each year, about 600,000 Americans experience their first stroke according to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance.
Financial planning experts note that most people wait too long to consider their options because the right time to plan is prior to turning age 65 before medical conditions like heart disease are diagnosed or become problematic.  “The sweet spot for long term care insurance is between ages 52 and 64,” Slome adds.  “You do not want to wait until after a doctor has diagnosed even a mild stroke because at that point it will very likely be too late to medically qualify for this protection.”

For more information including access to two free consumer guides on long term care insurance planning, visit the Association’s Consumer Information center at or call 818-597-3227.

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