New research has suggested that tooth loss can indicate if a person will have future cardiovascular events, diabetes, and death. The study was conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland and in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
The study used National FINRISK 1997 study data which is a Finnish population-based survey of 8,446 subjects, ages 25 to 75, who filled a comprehensive questionnaire, and participated in clinical examinations. In the study the number of missing teeth was recorded at a baseline and future information regarding health was recorded at a 13 year follow up.
It was found that having more than five missing teeth increased the risk for coronary heart disease events and myocardial infarctions by as much as 140 %. If one had more more than nine missing teeth they had an increased risk for diabetes by 31%, cardiovascular diseases by 51%,and death by 37%. The researchers accounted for standard risk factors in their statistical analysis.
Disease such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes are a common cause of death throughout the world. They have been found to associate with inflammatory oral diseases such as periodontitis which is a chronic inflammatory disease in the gum tissues. The study seems to suggest that regularly seeing a dentist to maintain your teeth and gums is important to help prevent future cardiovascular disease. However, it is important to remember that correlation does not imply causation.
Source: J. M. Liljestrand and et al., Missing Teeth Predict Incident Cardiovascular Events, Diabetes, and Death. Journal of Dental Research, 2015.