Gum disease, tooth loss and heart health

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March 16th, 2022



Have you ever considered that gum disease, tooth loss and heart health could be related? Even trained dental professionals, while being aware of the connections, can still find this surprising!

The connection between gum disease (periodontitis) and heart disease (cardiovascular disease) has been studied for many years, but there have been no clear conclusions when it comes to the causes. Still, a clear connection has been proven.

Illustration of 3 teeth next to one another in gums. One teeth is falling out

A review and analysis published in 2021 provided some insightful data. It is shown that people with gum disease and tooth loss do have higher rates of heart disease and stroke than those with good oral health.

Gum disease bacteria in the mouth causes an immune system reaction that includes inflammation, which can lead to other areas of the body experiencing vascular damage (impacting veins arteries or blood flow) like the heart and the brain.

Since there have been so many medical studies completed on the topic, the use of tooth loss to prove gum disease has been universally accepted. Tooth loss occurs most often in younger individuals due to dental cavities and most often in older people because of gum disease.

Illustration of 3 teeth smiling and wrapped in floss

Because studies have proven that gum disease causes inflammation in blood vessels, it can be stated that tooth loss is an indication of gum disease. This analysis comes from hundreds of thousands of patient participants in 44 studies, all looked at together to provide this conclusion. From here, the study states that having fewer teeth (more severe gum disease) is associated with heart disease and related deaths.

Keeping your teeth, mouth and gums healthy is essential to maintaining your overall health. Good dental health can help avoid other serious complications and diseases throughout the body. If you have heart disease or a heart condition, it is important to seek dental care as well as medical. Talk to your dentist if you have been told by a physician that you have heart disease.

Preventive care helps maintain health, prevent more serious conditions from developing and is much less costly than restorative or reparative care – for both dental and medical care.

This is why keeping our teeth and gums healthy is so important. It can positively affect both heart health and overall health!

Sources:

  • Beukers NGFM, Su N, Loos BG and van der Heijden GJMG (2021) Lower Number of Teeth Is Related to Higher Risks for ACVD and Death—Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses of Survival Data. Front. Cardiovasc. Med. 8:621626

  • Koka S, Gupta A. Association between missing tooth count and mortality: a systematic review. J Prosthodont Res. (2018) 62:134–51.

  • Peng J, Song J, Han J, Chen Z, Yin X, Zhu J, et al. The relationship between tooth loss and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and coronary heart disease in the general population: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Biosci Rep. (2019) 39:1773.


This information in this post is for general educational purposes only and does not warrant or represent any information as related to health as specifically appropriate for you. It is not intended to be medical advice or replace the relationship that you have with your health care providers. You should always seek medical advice on any diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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