Adults who have lost teeth due to nontraumatic reasons may have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to the American College of Cardiology (ACC), which also notes that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and that previous studies have linked cardiovascular disease with oral disease.
The causal association between oral disease and cardiovascular disease is not well known, so the researchers conducted a secondary analysis of the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, which looked at tooth loss not caused by trauma as well as cardiovascular disease including heart attack, angina, and stroke.
The study included 316,588 participants from the United States and its territories between the ages of 40 and 79. Overall, 8% were edentulous, and 13% had cardiovascular disease. The percentage of people who had cardiovascular disease and were edentulous was 28%, while only 7% had cardiovascular disease but did not have missing teeth.
In addition to edentulous participants, those who reported having one to five missing teeth or six or more, but not all, missing teeth also were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease even after adjusting for other factors such as body mass index, age, race, alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, and dental visits.
“Our results support that there is a relationship between dental health and cardiovascular health,” said Hamad Mohammed Qabha, MBBS, lead author and chief medical and surgical intern at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University.
“If a person’s teeth fall out, there may be other underlying health concerns. Clinicians should be recommending that people in this age group receive adequate oral healthcare to prevent the diseases that lead to tooth loss in the first place and as potentially another way of reducing risk of future cardiovascular disease,” he said.
The study was presented at the ACC Middle East Conference 2019, held in conjunction with the 10th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 3 through October 5.