January 12, 2015

New study finds link between tooth loss and atherosclerosis

Dental examination of Japanese adults has shown that tooth loss is associated with atherosclerosis, one of the most common cardiovascular diseases. (Photograph: KPG Payless/Shutterstock)

by Dental Tribune International

KYOTO, Japan: Japanese researchers have investigated the association between tooth loss, as an indicator of oral disease, and arterial stiffness, as a marker of atherosclerosis, in Japanese adults. They found that a relationship indeed exists between the two diseases. However, the severity of atherosclerosis varied between male and female patients with oral conditions.

Although a number of studies have suggested that oral disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the mechanism underlying the association between the two remains controversial. Therefore, researchers at Kyoto University collected data from 8,124 individuals aged 30–75 with a history of inflammation-induced tooth loss.

Comprehensive dental examination and evaluation of arterial stiffness in the participants found that the relationship between the degree of arterial stiffness and tooth loss was dependent on sex, with only men showing a positive correlation.

According to the World Health Organization, severe periodontal disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15–20 per cent of middle-aged adults worldwide. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death globally. The organisation estimates that by 2030 more than 23 million people will die annually from cardiovascular disease.

The study, titled “Tooth loss and atherosclerosis: The Nagahama Study”, was published online in the Journal of Dental Research on 18 November ahead of print.

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