Regular dental visits may do more than keep your chompers shiny. New research suggests that getting your teeth professionally cleaned and scraped or "scaled" just once may help reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Researchers looked at more than 100,000 adults in the Taiwan national health insurance database -- half of whom had never had their teeth scaled and half of whom had.
They found that those who had undergone at least one cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist in their lifetime had a 24-percent lower risk of heart attack and a 13-percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who had never gone. The association was particularly pronounced among those who sought a scaling -- the full cleaning and scraping process -- at least once a year.