Advanced tooth loss often acts as an indicator that a person has history of inflammatory oral diseases. A new study, published by researchers from the University of Helsinki in the Journal of Dental Research, has shown that missing teeth can also point to future cardiovascular events, diabetes and even death.
Researcher John Lijestrand said: “The number of missing teeth could be a useful indicator for general medical practitioners, when individual risk factors for chronic diseases are assessed.”
The extended cohort study was based on a Finnish population-based survey of 8,446 subjects, aged 25-75 who filled out a comprehensive questionnaire and participated in clinical examinations. The number of missing teeth was recorded at a baseline and information on incident disease events and deaths was obtained via national registers in a 13 year follow up.
More than five missing teeth increased the risk for coronary heart disease events and myocardial infarctions as much as 140 %. More than nine missing teeth indicated an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (51 %), diabetes (31 %) and death (37 %). Corresponding risks for edentulous subjects were 40-68 %.