The preliminary results of a huge study carried out by researchers in Sweden indicates that tooth loss may be associated with many different health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. This study adds extra weight to the importance of taking proper care of your teeth, and reminds us that it’s not just our oral health at stake: it’s our entire health.
How Tooth Loss Is Connected to Heart Disease
Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the medical records of 16,000 individuals in 39 countries to determine the connection between tooth loss or gum bleeding and other health conditions.
The researchers found that every lost tooth was correlated with an increase in:
- Enzymes associated with artery hardening and inflammation
- LDL cholesterol (commonly called “bad” cholesterol)
- Waist size
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
In addition, significant increases in tooth loss were also associated with an 11% increased risk of diabetes.
Chickens and Eggs
This is not the first study to associate tooth loss and gum disease with these health conditions, although it may be the largest and most diverse. One of the problems with these studies is that it’s hard to know whether tooth loss and gum disease are actually causing an increased risk in heart disease, or if the two conditions share common risk factors.
One known common risk factor is smoking. Smoking was associated with an increased risk of tooth loss (and it’s a known risk factor for gum disease), and it’s also associated with heart disease.
The results of this study are also preliminary, having only been presented at a scholarly convention, and not published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Don’t Risk Your Health with Poor Dental Care
Although it may be a long time before we understand the cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease, tooth loss, and these other health effects, it’s best to avoid the risk and take proper care of your teeth.
At Rice Dentistry, we use some of the most advanced treatment methods for gum disease, including laser gum treatment and targeted antibiotic treatment. This helps you avoid both tooth loss and may possibly prevent other serious health conditions.