By Susan Braden
A strong link has been discovered between the loss of teeth and diseases of the heart, and affordable dental care is vital to help reduce both lost pearly whites and cardiovascular risk without breaking the bank.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, lead by epidemiologist Catherine Okoro, examined the connection between cardiovascular issues and lost pearly whites. The study was conducted from a data collection of nearly 42,000 participants, and drawn from a 3-year telephone survey. Participants were surveyed from 22 states, within an age range of 40-80 years old. The results were presented after race, gender, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and body mass were taken into account.
This study noted an increased risk of cardiovascular problems corresponding to the number of teeth lost. Though the investigation revealed that 5% of those who had not lost a tooth did have heart disease, nearly 6% of those missing 1-5 teeth and 7.5% of those missing 6-31 of them had the disease. Furthermore, 8.5% of those with no remaining teeth also had cardiovascular problems. In light of these percentages, it appears that affordable prevention of tooth loss is vital for a healthy heart.
The study also noted that whether or not the participants smoked did not affect the connection between cardiovascular issues and tooth loss. While smoking can be a contributing factor to both tooth loss and heart issues, it does not serve as a link between the two.
Okoro stated, "Smoking has strong relationships to both tooth loss and heart disease. Nonetheless, when we stratified by age group and smoking status, a significant association remained between tooth loss and heart disease among respondents aged 40 to 59 years who had never smoked." The link between cardiovascular problems and lost teeth remained strong regardless of whether or not the participants were smokers.
"These results highlight the importance of health promotion counseling that includes the promotion of heart-healthy behaviors, the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease risk factors and the maintenance of good oral health," Okoro said.
A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy heart, and affordable dental care can make this easy and obtainable. Take proper care of your pearly whites to keep them as long as possible, and to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.