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Missing teeth heighten heart disease risk: study

AFP/The Local · 13 Apr 2010, 07:43

Published: 13 Apr 2010 07:43 GMT+02:00

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"Cardiovascular disease and in particular coronary heart disease is closely related to the number of teeth" that a person has left, Anders Holmlund told news agency AFP, explaining the results of a Swedish study to be published in the Journal of Periodontology.

"A person with fewer than 10 of their own teeth has a seven times higher risk for death by coronary heart disease than a person of the same age and of the same sex with more than 25 teeth left," Holmlund said.

Although many studies published in the past 15 years have shown a link between oral health and cardiovascular disease, Holmlund's study shows a direct relationship between cardiovascular disease and the number of teeth in a person's mouth.

The study, conducted with colleagues Gunnar Holm and Lars Lind, surveyed 7,674 women and men, most suffering from periodontal disease, for an average of 12 years, and examined the cause of death of the 629 people who died during the period.

For 299 of the subjects, the cause of death was cardiovascular disease.

The theory connecting teeth numbers and heart disease, Holmlund explained, maintains that "infections in the mouth and around the teeth can spill over to the systemic circulation system and cause a low graded chronic inflammation," which is known to be a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular episodes.

The number of natural teeth a person had left "could reflect how much chronic inflammation one has been exposed to in a lifetime," he added.

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The study had been limited by the fact that it had not been possible to adjust the results for socio-economic factors and to fully adjust them according to other cardiovascular risk factors, he acknowledged.

Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide, claiming upward of 17 million lives every year according to the World Health Organisation.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:29 April 13, 2010 by blursd
Damn ... I'm screwed.
10:51 April 13, 2010 by krow
Ok. Maybe the result does not show old people in africa who have no teeth left and possibly lives longer than people with complete teeth. I dont agree to this research
10:58 April 13, 2010 by Tall swede
Not been possible to adjust for socio-economic factors? Of course the junkie or inbred retard is not living as healthy as someone who brushes his teeth and avoid infections in the mouth.
11:19 April 13, 2010 by LailaC1
Well if you eat alot of sweets and drink alot of fizzy drinks, neither your teeth or health would be likely to very good!
11:22 April 13, 2010 by PhilHill

Gosh thats really amazing.

I believe that next they will be studying to see if there is a link between old age and death. Can you imagine.

Dont these people have anything better to do than state

the bleeding obvious.
11:37 April 13, 2010 by Mib
Maybe, we need to see the official study, rather than relying on a few paragraphs on thelocal to judge what the report is saying. You would have thought that they would account for the obvious that eating/drinking more rubbish etc would result in a higher loss of teeth and in turn higher risk of Heart disease.
12:16 April 13, 2010 by David S
while other related risk factors such as diet are obviously involved, there is a pretty clear link between inflammation and a variety of diseases, including CHD and Alzheimers - both of which have also correlated with number of teeth. This is not a new finding, just further confirmation of the link.
17:11 April 13, 2010 by Dinaricman
The English are in real trouble.
14:59 April 14, 2010 by bobnbri
This study proves what many of us have believed for decades. Dental hygiene should be an all inclusive part of any social democracy's national health plan. Where I live it is not, and I think this is really stupid.

Of course if it were our taxes would be even more ludicrous thanks to bureaucratic inefficienciy and incompetance.
14:02 April 16, 2010 by MichaelZWilliamson
What amazes me as a former Brit is how many Americans have bad teeth. Dentists are cheap here, and readily available. I know a lot of people with swollen, bleeding gums and rotten teeth who tell me they're "afraid" of dentists. I can't imagine wanting to be intimate with someone who has a mouthful of oozing red gums with fuzzy green teeth. Are they afraid of not being in pain and not being socially revolting?
00:58 May 12, 2010 by dtes
swedes and middle easterners got the foulest nastiest breath ive ever smelled. i seriously wonder why these people dont at the very least use mouth wash after eating their mutilated animal corpse concoctions! as an american vegan i find this cultures dental hygiene to be in need of some re-thinking! and im not just talking about the men, i dont know about muslim women but swedish women are just as foul as their male counterparts.
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