Professional Teeth Deep Cleaning May Reduce Your Risk of Infection After Knee Surgery

Regular visits to the dentist and deep cleaning your teeth could decrease your chance of an infection after knee surgery, a study finds.

Researchers from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan published a study June 23 in PLOS One that analyzed 1,291 patients who had their knee implants removed because of infection and 5,004 patients who had knee surgery but did not become infected and looked at the proportion of patients in each group that had had deep cleaning after their knee surgery. The risk of needing surgery because of an infection was 20 percent lower for patients who had had at least one deep cleaning than for patients who had never had a deep cleaning. In addition, the risk was reduced among those who had had five to six deep cleanings in the three years after the original knee implant.

'The most important finding of this population-based, nested case-control study was that frequent dental checkups and tooth scaling (deep cleaning) may reduce the risk of total-knee arthroplasty infection, ' according to the study.

Deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planning and is done below the gumline to treat gum disease, according to the American Dental Association. It’s done when plaque becomes trapped in pockets within the gums and cannot be removed with regular brushing.

If gum disease is caught early and hasn’t damaged the structures below the gum line, a professional cleaning should do. If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, however, scaling and root planing may be needed.

For more information on scaling and root planing, visit MouthHealthy.org.

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