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Blood Protein Linked with Tooth Loss
September 5, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Low albumin levels in blood have been linked with tooth loss in older people.

Japanese researchers studied 331 older adults for 10 years. Their blood was tested for albumin at the beginning of the study, as well as 5 years and 10 years later. Albumin is the most common protein in human blood. Produced by the liver, it transports some hormones and many drugs. It also balances the blood's acidity.

People who had low albumin levels at the beginning of the study were more likely to lose teeth during the next 10 years. Researchers took other factors into account that could increase the risk of tooth loss. They included:

  • Smoking
  • Education
  • Oral hygiene habits
  • Number of teeth at the start of the study

Normal albumin levels are between 3.4 and 5.4 grams per deciliter. Low levels can have many causes, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • A low-protein diet
  • Crohn's disease
  • Other conditions in which the body cannot absorb enough nutrients

The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation.

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