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Tooth Loss May Associated With Increased Risk for Heart Disease

Population-based studies show an association between oral conditions (periodontal disease and/or tooth loss) and cardiovascular disease.

Tooth loss is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), according to findings from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System

The investigators analyzed data from the 1999 to 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing telephone survey based on 41,891 adults aged 40 to 79 years who are living in 22 states and in the District of Columbia.

There was a significant association between extent of tooth loss and heart disease prevalence. Compared with participants who retained all their teeth, those who had 1 to 5 missing teeth, 6 to 31 missing teeth, or were edentulous were more likely to have heart disease (adjusted prevalence: 6.8%, 10.2%, and 11.5%, respectively, vs 5.3%; P < .001), after adjustment for age, sex, race-ethnicity, education, and marital status. Further adjustment for smoking status, diabetes, alcohol consumption, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and body mass index did not abolish this association (5.7%, 7.5%, and 8.4%, respectively, vs 4.7%; P < .05) nor did stratification by age group (40 - 59 years and 60 - 79 years) and smoking status.

“A relationship between tooth loss and heart disease is of considerable public health interest because of the prevalence of both conditions in the general population,” the authors conclude. “Further studies are needed to determine whether tooth loss alone or in the presence of other oral infections is an independent risk factor for heart disease, or whether it is an indicator of unhealthy behaviors.”

Am J Prevent Med. 2005;29(supp 1):50-56