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You’ve probably heard the warnings before – take care of your teeth or you could end up with heart problems.
In fact, for a while, the issue of how gum disease can go hand-in-hand with heart disease was everywhere – even on network television.
One of my favorite shows of all time, Frasier, devoted an entire episode to Frasier’s brother, Niles, experiencing a toothache.
Because of all of the hype around it, Niles worries that the toothache could be due to a heart problem but since the odds are only 1 in 10,000, he is told not to worry.
Then he wins a prize in a contest with the exact same odds, is struck by lightning, and wins that same competition yet again – the universe telling him to pay attention! And, yes, that toothache turns out to be referred pain from a heart problem that lands him in emergency surgery.
Clearly, the link between oral health and heart health was on the mind of many Americans back then.
Fast forward to today, where research shows the harm to your heart may be measured in the number of teeth you have…
Tooth loss linked to heart disease
Since the exact link between oral disease and heart disease wasn’t well known, some researchers decided to look at more recent data and set out to get clarity on the issue.
They analyzed data from the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System that looked at tooth loss not caused by trauma, as well as heart disease, including heart attack, angina and/or stroke. This was a massive undertaking, including data on over 316,500 participants from the U.S. and territories between the ages of 40 and 79.
And, what it came down to was this…
If you have lost all your teeth, and it’s not due to trauma, you need to keep a close watch on your heart health…
That’s because, among the more than 300,000 participants, only 8 percent were missing all their teeth. But within that group, 28 percent of them had heart disease.
That quite a strong association when compared to only 7 percent who had cardiovascular disease but did not have missing teeth.
But, even if you only lose a few teeth, your odds for heart trouble increase…
The results showed that those who reported having one to five missing teeth or six or more, but not all, missing teeth were also more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. That held true, even after adjusting for other factors including 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 of the study 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 health care 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.”
So, if you’re experiencing any dental issues, remember the Frasier episode we talked about and see your doctor as well as your dentist. Sometimes problems in the mouth aren’t just about your teeth but could be an indication of what’s going on with your heart.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
- Tooth loss associated with higher risk of heart disease — EurekAlert!