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Heart Disease and Tooth Loss

Cardiovascular Disease and Dentistry

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Updated: March 5, 2008

Mar 5 2008
While visiting with my parents a few days ago, something on their table caught my eye. It was the AARP magazine. On the cover were the words, “Guard Your Heart - 7 Step Plan”

I opened the magazine and found the article. The very first step in this 7 step plan was…brush and floss.

As the results of numerous studies relating dental problems to heart disease are consistent, more people are becoming aware of the association between good oral hygiene and overall health.

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine issued a report in the December 2005 issue about a study that links heart disease to tooth loss in adults.

The Study

The study was conducted by state health agencies and was assisted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey conducted between 1999 to 2002, included more than 40,000 adults aged 40 to 79, from 22 different states.

Even though smoking is linked to oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease and tooth loss, this study shows a significant connection between heart disease and tooth loss among participants in the age group of 40 to 59 who have never smoked.

Results

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine states the results of this study as, “A significant association was observed between the extent of tooth loss and heart disease prevalence.”

After adjustment for social and genetic factors such as gender, marital status, education and race/ethnicity, the researchers reported that the respondents who had missing teeth were significantly more likely to have heart disease than those who did not have tooth loss. According to this study, the percentages of respondents likely to have heart disease associated with tooth loss is as follows:

    1 to 5 missing teeth: 6.8%
    6 to 31 missing teeth: 10.2%
    Complete tooth loss: 11.5%

The researchers also concluded that the prevention and control of heart disease risk factors and good oral health maintenance should be included in health promotion counseling.

Source:

American Journal of Preventative Medicine Tooth Loss and Heart Disease: Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 05 December 2005.

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