Losing teeth is bad enough — but it is also linked to heart disease.
In fact, a recent study confirmed the speculation of dental practices like PDC Dental that tooth loss may actually be associated with heart disease, diabetes and even death.
The researchers used the 1997 National FINRISK study findings, which analysed 8,446 individuals aged 28 to 75 for 13 years. The subjects were asked to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire and participate in examinations. The questionnaire particularly included questions about how many teeth the subjects had lost.
After collecting this information, the new study quantified how many of the participants developed heart disease, experienced heart attacks and death in the following years.
The Surprising Results
The study yielded surprising statistics.
Participants who had five or more missing teeth were 140% more likely to experience heart disease and heart attacks in the future. Those who are missing nine or more teeth indicated an increased risk of 51% for cardiovascular disease and 31% for diabetes. About 37% also indicated death after 13 years.
Those who have no teeth at all have a 40% to 68% chance of dying from a heart attack.
The researchers did not find any link between stroke and periodontitis or gum infection.
Stronger Research on the Link Between Heart Disease and Tooth Loss
The findings of this new research supports previous studies, which found that tooth loss often indicates a history of other serious health conditions. It is also consistent with other research that links gum disease and tooth loss to atherosclerosis and heart attack.
The researchers, however, noted that the results do not necessarily prove that tooth loss itself causes heart problems.
The bottom line from the study — and other previous similar studies — is that while there are many factors to heart disease, such as diet and exercise, an important area often overlooked is tooth loss. Therefore, it is important to properly take care of the teeth, live a healthy lifestyle (quit smoking) and replace missing teeth immediately.
So if you have missing teeth, start the change. A beautiful row of pearly whites, after all, might not only stand for good physical appearance, but also good health.