In the last twenty years, the link between our mouth and the rest of our body has been well documented. Complications such as periodontal disease have been linked to diabetes, stroke, and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, and now a new study conducted Tulane University School of Public Health, suggests that losing teeth midway through life can be linked to cardiovascular disease or CVD.
Known as an umbrella term for diseases related to the heart and blood vessels, CVD includes coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, and also conditions that severely damage the heart, such as congestive heart failure. Generally, the risk of CVD is lowered by stopping smoking, eating healthily, and being physically active, but according to new finding presented at American Heart Association, another component must include keeping the mouth healthy.
Conducted at Tulane University School of Public Health, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Professor Qi and a team of researchers analyzed data from thousands of men and women aged 45-69. These participants were asked how many natural teeth they had at the beginning of the the study, and their data was recorded. None of the participants had CVD in their younger years.
From a set of questionnaires filled out by the patients, the researchers were able to assess tooth loss over a period of eight years, comparing these results to the percentage who contracted CVD later in life.
The results were as follows:
- Those who reported to have lost two or more teeth had a 23 percent higher risk of developing CVD
- This raised risk was independent of diet, exercise, body weight, and other risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol
Researchers involved in the study acknowledge that some of the findings are limited by self-reported tooth loss, but the pattern seems clear.
How to Protect Your Teeth
As you age, your chances of developing gum disease, and losing teeth, increases significantly, which is why maintaining your oral hygiene and regularly seeing a dentist is important. Complications such as gum disease and tooth loss don’t happen immediately, but are the result of a long process. By visiting a dentist for the recommended two cleanings and checkups per year, you ensure that small problems that naturally occur can’t progress into something bigger.
If you’ve already lost a few teeth, there are many ways to effectively replace them, such as dental implants.
Give us a call at (907) 349-0022 or contact us and come see why everyone is raving about the hygiene team at Excellence In Dentistry in Anchorage, Alaska!