tooth loss healthA recent study by the University of Helsinki in Finland shows that there is an association between tooth loss and future cardiovascular events, death, as well as diabetes. In addition, missing teeth might even be able to predict future cardiovascular events.

This study was published in the Journal of Dental Research, and was done in collaboration with The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). John Liljestrand, the lead researcher, has added that when individual risk factors for chronic diseases are assessed, the number of missing teeth can be a useful indicator for medical practitioners. This Finnish population-based survey titled the “National FINRISK 1997 Study, consisted of 8,446 subjects who were aged 25-75; these subjects filled out a comprehensive questionnaire and participated in clinical examinations. When the study began, the number of missing teeth was recorded, and during a 13 year follow-up, information on incident disease events and deaths was obtained via national registers.

The results of this study showed that corresponding risks for the edentulous subjects (those who had no teeth) were 40-68%. In order to validate the findings, traditional risk factors were taken into account and information on missing teeth was added in order to establish risk factors that could improve the risk discrimination of death. In addition, the study also indicated that having more than five missing teeth increases the risk for myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and coronary heart disease events as much as 140%; while more than nine missing teeth indicates an increased risk for death (37%), cardiovascular diseases (51%), as well as diabetes (31%).

When an individual shows advanced tooth loss, it can be an indicator that this person has a history of inflammatory oral diseases, such as periodontitis. It is now known that non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are associated with inflammatory oral diseases. If you find yourself suffering from an inflammatory oral disease, it is best to get checked out by your local physician.

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