Study Finds Tooth Loss Linked to Heart Disease

For adults, the discomfort, social stigma, and increased risk of oral disease that comes with tooth loss makes the problem difficult enough on its own. Now a new study from Sweden’s Uppsala University suggests that losing a tooth may also be a warning sign for an increased risk of heart disease.

Known heart disease-related risk factors also include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

As part of their study, researchers reviewed data from approximately 16,000 people living in 39 countries across the globe who provided information about how many teeth they had remaining and how frequently they experienced bleeding gums. Nearly 40 percent of the individuals involved in the study’s data had less than 15 teeth remaining, while 16 percent reported having no remaining permanent teeth. About 25 percent of study participants reported suffering from bleeding gums.

A Growing Epidemic

Poor oral health ranks as a global epidemic, with over 3.9 billion – half the world’s population – suffering from some kind of dental issue, according to a recent report published by researchers at University of London. Researchers also estimate that 35 percent of the world’s population suffers from severe untreated tooth decay and cavities. Considering the possible connection between tooth loss and heart disease, much of the world’s health seems at jeopardy.

According to the study, for each decrease in the number of teeth a participant suffered, a direct increase occurred in the amount of harmful enzymes found in the body that promote inflammation and a hardening of the arteries. Researchers also noted that in addition to fewer teeth, study participants exhibited increased signs of heart disease, such as higher levels of LDL – “bad” – cholesterol and higher blood pressure, blood sugar, and waist size.

Participants with fewer teeth also had a higher risk of diabetes; increasing by 11 percent for each significant reduction in the number of teeth they lost, researchers discovered. Current and former smokers also had an increased risk of tooth loss, and participants suffering from bleeding gums tended to have higher blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels when compared to those with healthier gums.

The results of the study were presented by researchers at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held in San Francisco.

Maintaining Your Oral Health

In addition to the Uppsala University study, significant evidence has emerged in recent years that links an individual’s oral health with an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. These studies make it clear that anyone wanting to live a healthy life needs to maintain and improve their oral health.

Fortunately for patients of Dr. Matheson, your best choice for family dentist Lakewood, Colorado has you have already taken one of the most important steps towards enjoying better oral health – dental visits.

While brushing twice a day and flossing daily rank as the most important and vital habits patients can use to protect the health of their teeth and gums, you still need to schedule routine cleanings and checkups to remove bacteria from along the gum line and other hard to reach places to prevent the onset of decay and gum disease.

So remember the next time you don’t feel like brushing and flossing, or consider putting off your next scheduled dental appointment, it’s more than just the health of your teeth and gums that’s at stake.

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