There is a menacing connection between lost teeth and heart attacks.
A study conducted at the University of Helsinki on 8,400 subjects between 25 and 75 shows a connection between missing teeth and risk of heart attack.
The 2015 study (Journal of Dental Research) concluded that the more teeth you have missing, the greater your risk of a heart attack.
According to this study, people who have more than five missing teeth have an increased risk (140 percent), of developing coronary heart disease, while for people missing more than nine teeth, the risk is increased for several serious problems:
- A whopping 51 percent risk increase of cardiovascular disease
- 31 percent increased diabetes risk
- 37 percent increased risk of dying prematurely
For people who are missing all of their teeth (edentulous), the risks ranged from 40 to 68 percent.
How Oral Health Affects You
The key as to why your oral health could cause a heart attack is found in gum disease.
Early gum disease or gingivitis does not cause any severe problems and can be eliminated just by brushing twice a day and flossing.
Gum disease if not treated can become chronic periodontitis, affecting gum and the bone that support the teeth.
Gum disease is caused by bad bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria, if not eliminated, continue to inflame the gums, and the immune system in your gums is activated, causing more inflammation.
More bacteria get into your gums as they are receding, and pockets form.
The inflammation and bacteria start destroying your gums, the structures that keep your teeth in place, and the jawbone. Soon, your teeth start to become loose and may even fall out.
Dental Cleanings and Heart Attacks
Another study (Chen et al) conducted in Taiwan found that the reverse was also true. A good sample of healthy individuals with no history of heart disease were chosen and tracked for seven years.
Half of the sample who saw a dentist at least once a year had a 24 percent lower risk of heart attack and 13 percent lower risk of stroke when compared with the other sample who had never had a dental cleaning
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Because of the connection between periodontal disease and heart attacks and stroke, it is important to eliminate it as soon as possible. The more likely symptoms being:
1. Gums that have pulled away from your teeth, forming pockets
2. Spaces developing between your teeth
3. Pus at the gum line
4. Persistent bad breath and taste
5. Pain when chewing and change in bite pattern
6. Loose or sensitive teeth
Periodontitis is linked to development of problems such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, several forms of cancer and many more conditions.
Gum disease treatments, based on the severity of the condition, may require any of the following: scaling , root planing, pocket reduction surgery, gum graft surgery and LANAP.
Dr. Vadivel, DDS, is a board certified periodontal surgeon, and Founder-CEO of Implants & Gumcare of Texas, offering affordable restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Vadivel has over 25 years of experience.