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Tooth loss can be risky for heart patients

Mar 19, 2013

Tooth loss risky for heart patients
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Losing permanent teeth is never fun, but one study now claims that losing teeth may have serious implications for those with established heart disease.

According to an international study reported on earlier this month at the American College of Cardiology, an enzyme that increases inflammation and promotes hardening of the arteries, Lp-PLA2, is released every time a tooth is lost.

Other possible cardiac risks with tooth loss include bad cholesterol, increased blood sugar, high blood pressure, and obesity.  Researchers also found that  people with fewer teeth were also at a higher risk for diabetes, with their risk increasing 11 percent for every significant loss in the number of teeth.

Researchers expected stronger associations between gum bleeding and cardiovascular risk factors, so admittedly they were surprised by the large number of patients in the study with no teeth or very few teeth.

“Whether periodontal disease actually causes coronary heart disease remains to be shown. It could be that the two conditions share common risk factors independently,” said Ola Vedin, MD, the study’s lead author from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Although several studies over the years have proposed a link between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease, information about heart patients suffering from periodontal disease is lacking. Dental Wire reported in January about the special care heart patients may require when needing dental work.

The latest international study involved 15,828 study participants from 39 countries. Approximately 40 percent of participants had fewer than 15 teeth and 16 percent had no teeth. Twenty-five percent of the participants reported gum bleeds.

Sources:, HealthDay

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