The study, led by a University of California researcher, compared people who went to the dentist during the previous two years with those who did not, and used data from nearly 7,000 people ages 44-88 enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study.
The researchers, however, did not find a similar benefit for men. "We think the findings reflect differences in how men and women develop cardiovascular disease," says study co-author Dr. Stephen Brown, a first-year obstetrician/gynecologist resident at the West Virginia University Charleston Division School of Medicine. "Other studies suggest that estrogen has a protective effect against heart disease because it helps prevent the development of atherosclerosis. It's not until women hit menopause around age 50 to 55 that they start catching up with men."
Here are some things you can do for optimal oral (and heart) health:
- Visit your dentist twice a year
- Brush and floss at least twice a day
- Cut back on sugary snacks and drinks like candy bars and sodas to prevent dental caries
- Those wearing dentures should make sure they stay clean to prevent the growth and buildup of plaque and bacteria