Gum disease and tooth loss may be associated with a higher risk of death in postmenopausal women but not increased cardiovascular disease risk, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the open access journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Loss of all natural teeth also was linked with an increased risk of death in postmenopausal women, according to the study.
Periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gum and connective tissue surrounding the teeth, affects nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults 60 and older. The loss of all one’s teeth, called edentulism, impacts about one-third of U.S. adults 60 and older and often results from periodontal disease.
Researchers analyzed the health information from the Women’s Health Initiative program—a study of 57,001 women, 55 years and older.
In 6.7-year follow up of postmenopausal women studied, they found:
- History of periodontal disease was associated with a 12 percent higher risk of death from any cause.
- Loss of all natural teeth was associated with a 17 percent higher risk of death from any cause. The risk of death associated with periodontal disease was comparable regardless of how often women saw their dentists.
- Women who had lost their teeth were older, had more CVD risk factors, less education and visited the dentist less frequently compared to women with their teeth.
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