John C. Chao, D.D.S.

Research Associate Professor, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Ostrow School of Dentistry, USC

(626) 308-9104

News & Press



Getting Teeth Cleaned Reduced "Bad" Cholesterol by 30%

A study of 273 aboriginal Australians showed that treatment of gum disease with “deep cleaning” was so able to reduce the thickness of the carotid artery that this change can be equated to having reduced “bad cholesterol” by 30%. This study was conducted by the University of Sydney and published in Hypertension online June 23, 2014. The author, Michael Skilton, BSc, PhD, said that,” The study shows that the non-surgical periodontal therapy significantly reduced the progression of thickening of the carotid artery over a one-year period”. He further explained, “The effect is comparable to a 30 percent [decrease] in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [levels]—commonly referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol—which is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease”. Dr. Skilton led a team of researchers from The University of Sydney and other Australian and U.S. institutions. They enrolled 273 aboriginal Australians who had periodontitis in a parallel-group, open-label, randomized clinical trial. Participants in the intervention group received full-mouth periodontal scaling during a single visit. Those in the control group received no treatment. Follow-up data were available for 169 participants at three months and 168 participants at 12 months.

After 12 months, participants in the intervention group had experienced a significant decrease in intima-media thickness—an indicator of arterial structure—but those in the control group did not, the authors reported. In contrast, there were no significant differences between the groups in pulse wave velocity, an indicator of arterial function.

“Future studies may tell us whether a more intensive approach to periodontal therapy, including regular periodontal maintenance schedules, can produce more marked improvements in vascular structure,” Dr. Skilton said.

So don’t wait when you have gum disease. See your dentist and save your life.


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