An interesting study recently performed by Dr. Hamad Mohammed Qabha linked dental health to an increase in heart disease. He examined more than 300,000 people between 40 and 79 and discovered an important link between people missing their teeth and a dramatic increase in heart disease.
28% of people in this study missing all their teeth due to gum disease or advanced decay had heart problems. Only 7% of those keeping their teeth had heart problems. These figures accounted for other factors such as diabetes, smoking, weight, age and alcohol use.
A direct cause and effect were not evident but several reasons for this relationship were advanced.
- Missing teeth (those needing dentures) resulted in compromised chewing and decreased absorption of nutrients. Also, edentulous people (people without their natural teeth) consumed more unhealthy sugars and carbohydrates that contribute to heart disease
- Missing teeth resulted in an altered bite that altered the part of the Nervous System (Autonomic Nervous System) that innervates the heart. This can lead to compromises in heart health.
- The most likely connection (also shown in other studies) is that people missing their teeth had infected gums. The bacteria causing these infections migrate into the blood and lodge on the heart muscles, vessels and heart valves resulting in compromised heart health and damage.
All these factors should convince both patients and the dental professionals to prevent or mitigate the causative factors for tooth loss and to retain teeth when possible.
Remember to enjoy the journey,
Dr Bob and Team
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