Heart Disease, Oral Health Linked
December 5, 2012
By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service
INTELIHEALTH - People with heart disease have more oral diseases and are less likely to take care of their mouths, says a study.
The study included about 100 people. In the last 12 months, half of them had a heart attack or had been diagnosed with unstable angina. The other half did not have heart problems.
Compared with the healthy group, the people with heart disease:
- Were more likely to be smokers
- Went to the dentist less often
- Had their teeth professionally cleaned less often
- Were less likely to brush their teeth every day
- Had more missing teeth
- Had more endodontic lesions
- Were more likely to have periodontal disease
When the researchers took smoking into account, as well as other factors, they found that people with heart disease were no longer more likely to have periodontal disease or missing teeth. However, they were still more likely to have endodontic lesions. These are problem areas on the roots of the teeth, under the gum line.
People in the heart-disease group were mostly men and were all white. The average age was 48. The authors noted that this is quite young for heart-disease patients. They said the health factors linked with a higher risk of heart disease in this group were likely different than risk factors in older people.
Both overweight and obesity are linked with a higher risk of heart disease. But everyone in this study was of normal weight. This allowed researchers to avoid any effects of weight on their results.
The researchers also looked at a gene called CD14. It has several forms. Other studies have linked certain forms of CD14 with heart disease. This study looked to see if one form of CD14 was more common in people with heart disease, periodontal disease or endodontic problems. The researchers did not see any of those associations, however.
The study appears in the November issue of the Journal of Endodontics.