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Older Woman Smile Missing Teeth

Tooth Loss in Middle Age May Lead to Cardiovascular Disease Later

Dental health problems are related to inflammation, diabetes, smoking and less healthy diets. A recent study suggests that losing two or more teeth during middle age is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


For their analysis, researchers examined data from 17 cohort studies that included a total of 87,9084 participants between the ages of 45 and 69. None of the participants had cardiovascular disease at baseline. The researchers examined occurrence of tooth loss during an eight-year period. They also examined incidence of cardiovascular disease among people with no tooth loss, one tooth lost, and two or more teeth lost over 12 to 18 years.


The researchers found that among people with 25 to 32 natural teeth to start, losing two or more teeth was associated with a 23% increased risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with people who lost no teeth. There was no association found between losing one tooth and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The increased risk held even when other variables, such as demographic and lifestyle factors, were taken into account.


In addition, adults with less than 17 natural teeth at the beginning of the study were 25% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.


Researchers from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 28, 2018, in PLoS One.


Previous studies have found that oral health plays an important role in a person’s overall health. The mouth contains a host of bacteria, and  good oral health care is usually able to keep them under control. However, without proper oral care, these bacteria can reach high levels and eventually lead to oral infections. These infections may play in role in some diseases, including cardiovascular disease, endocarditis and diabetes.

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