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

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.