Tooth Loss May Be Marker for Health Risks

Posted on January 23, 2015

INTELIHEALTH - People who have lost teeth also are more likely to have metabolic syndrome, says a review of national survey information.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase a person's risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. They include: high blood pressure; high cholesterol; large waist size (more than 35 inches for women, more than 40 inches for men); and high blood sugar.

Researchers from the University of Iowa did the study. They used data from a national survey done between 2005 and 2008. They included health information from 5,511 adults.

Adults were put into four groups based on how many of their natural teeth they still had. Wisdom teeth were not counted.

Compared with people who had all of their teeth:

- People with 21 to 27 teeth were 32% more likely to have metabolic syndrome

- People with 1 to 20 teeth were 55% more likely to have metabolic syndrome

- People with no teeth were 79% more likely to have metabolic syndrome

Having fewer teeth was linked with higher body-mass index (BMI), larger waist size, higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar, and lower HDL ("good cholesterol").

Other research has found links between metabolic syndrome and lost teeth. Researchers have not shown whether one causes the other. The two factors may interact with one another. Or something else – such as poor nutrition, for example – could contribute to both metabolic syndrome and tooth loss.

The study appears in the January 9 issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Source: Intelihealth News Service

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