Tooth loss in middle age is tied to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, poor diet, and diabetes.
This was the conclusion of preliminary research led by Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, USA, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA.
Professor of epidemiology at Tulane University and study co-author Lu Qi explained: “In addition to other established associations between dental health and risk of disease, our findings suggest that middle-aged adults who have lost two or more teeth in [the] recent past could be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease”.
This study is not the first to investigate the link between dental health and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but it is the first to focus on tooth loss during midlife and exclude that which occurs earlier.
The new findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2018 scientific sessions held in New Orleans. The study is not yet published as a peer-reviewed paper, but you can read the abstract in the journal Circulation.
CVD is an umbrella term for diseases of the heart and blood vessels. This includes diseases of the blood vessels that supply: the brain (such as stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases); the heart muscle (coronary heart disease); and the arms and legs (peripheral arterial disease).
CVD is the primary cause of death worldwide. In 2015, it claimed 17.7 million lives, including 7.4 million due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million due to stroke.