Loose teeth increase risk of premature death

Serious loosening of the teeth more than trebles the risk of premature death. Poor oral health increases the risk of death from illnesses such as cancer and cardio-vascular diseases, according to a new Swedish study.

“If it goes so far that a person begins losing teeth, it is probable that the illness has gone unnoticed for 15 to 20 years.

“It is a silent, life-threatening infection. It doesn’t make much noise – at least not in the beginning,” professor Birgitta Söder from Karolinska Institute , who is the main author of the study, told Göteborgs-Posten.

For 16 years the study followed the progress of more than 3,000 randomly chosen people. The results of the study are alarming.

People who are relatively young but with loose teeth run a much increased risk of dying of a serious illness. The study suggests that the public health implications of the loosening of teeth are considerably greater than was previously believed.

No other single risk factor, smoking included, was found to be of such significance.

A total of 116 people died over the course of the study’s 16 years. The average age of those who died was 47.

The women who died had been expected to live for a further 36 years. The equivalent figure for the men who died was 31 years.

The study has shown there to be a clear correlation between poor oral health and the risk of disease. As yet there is no clear explanation for this correlation.