Tooth loss associated with higher risk of heart disease

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death of men and women in the United States, and previous studies have linked cardiovascular disease with oral disease. Oral disease is an inflammatory disease that frequently causes tooth loss due to the breakdown of periodontal tissue.

The causal association between oral disease and cardiovascular disease is not well known, so researchers in this study conducted a secondary analysis of the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System that looked at tooth loss not caused by trauma, as well as cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, angina and/or stroke.

The study included 316,588 participants from the United States and territories between the ages of 40-79. Overall 8 percent were edentulous (had no teeth) and 13 percent had cardiovascular disease. The percentage of people who had cardiovascular disease and were edentulous was 28 percent, compared to only 7 percent who had cardiovascular disease but did not have missing teeth.

In addition to edentulous participants, those who reported having one to five missing teeth or six or more, but not all, missing teeth were also more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, even after adjusting for other factors such as body mass index, age, race, alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes and dental visits.

“Our results support that there is a relationship between dental health and cardiovascular health,” said Hamad Mohammed Qabha, MBBS, lead author of the study and Chief Medical and Surgical Intern at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University. “If a person’s teeth fall out, there may be other underlying health concerns. Clinicians should be recommending that people in this age group receive adequate oral health care to prevent the diseases that lead to tooth loss in the first place and as potentially another way of reducing risk of future cardiovascular disease.”

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