Tooth Loss and Heart Health

Afro-american girl brushing her teeth
Afro-american girl brushing her teeth

Caring for your teeth is not only important for a healthy oral cavity but it is also the key to your heart health. A six-year follow-up study conducted in the U.S. has shown a positive relation between periodontitis (an infection that spoils gums and bone supporting the teeth leading to tooth loss) and risk of coronary heart disease. Other factors such as diet had a very minor effect on periodontitis and the risk of heart disease. People who were diagnosed with periodontitis and had less than 10 teeth remaining showed an increased risk of heart disease in comparison to people with more than 25 teeth.

Another research study has observed the risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women with periodontitis. It has shown that women who smoke or consume more alcohol are more prone to tooth infection. The development of tooth infection is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease among postmenopausal women.

Similar studies have shown a positive relationship between ischemic stroke (obstruction in the blood supply to the brain) and tooth loss due to infection. The reason behind this association is that ischemic stroke and periodontitis share the same set of causes. Common factors leading to these conditions are old age, high blood pressure, smoking, Diabetes, cardiovascular history, excess alcohol consumption and obesity. Although the association between cardiovascular disease and periodontitis is still under clinical trials, the latter is more prevalent in smoking and Diabetes. Interestingly, both the causes are strongly related to cardiovascular health and tooth loss due to infection.

Source: Journal of the American Heart Association

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