People who lose two or more teeth during middle age may be more likely to develop heart disease, scientists have found. Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and managing partner of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners recently came across a published study of nearly 61,000 adults aged between 45 and 69 which showed those who lost two or more teeth had a higher chance of developing coronary heart disease than those who didn't lose any teeth. People's risk had still increased after researchers took into account their diet, level of physical activity, body weight, hypertension and other risk factors. The researchers did not suggest how tooth loss and heart disease were linked, but experts have said in the past that bacteria could travel from infections in the mouth into the bloodstream and cause inflammation in blood vessels, which is associated with heart disease.
Coronary heart disease is a common killer and accounts for 22 per cent of all premature deaths, in the US it kills 370,000 people every year. The NHS says most cases are preventable. It is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the heart and can cause heart attacks. People at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease include smokers and those with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Links have been made between the condition and dental health in the past; tooth loss is a symptom of poor oral health and, this study suggests, an indicator of a higher risk of heart disease. Anyone who lost two or more teeth - regardless of how many they had at the start - had a 16 per cent higher risk, but the risk among those who had 25-32 teeth was 23 per cent higher than those who did not lose any teeth.
In addition to other established associations between dental health and risk of disease, our findings suggest that middle-aged adults who have lost two or more teeth in the recent past could be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
That's regardless of the number of natural teeth a person has as a middle-aged adult, or whether they have traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as poor diet or high blood pressure.
The relation between dental health such as tooth loss and cardiovascular has been well documented in various research studies. Dr. Johnson recommends an every 3 month dental cleaning for many of his adult patients with early signs of gum disease. "Pro-action is always better than re-action" quips Dr. Johnson. "Why wait for significant dental problems to arise or to risk a cardiovascular incident"?
For more information, contact visit www.NewtonWelleselyDentalPartners.com or contact Dr. Johnson with any questions.