No one likes having missing teeth. Whether you’ve lost a tooth from decay, disease, or trauma, that gap in your smile presents more than just an aesthetic problem: It can compromise the health of nearby teeth, make oral hygiene more difficult, and even impact your speech and diet. But that’s not all — did you know that tooth loss could also have larger associated health risks?
Study Links Tooth Loss, Coronary Heart Disease
Your teeth can tell you a lot about your overall health. That’s because even though we tend to think about dentistry as separate from other forms of medicine, your oral health is a piece of the puzzle of your overall health. Some whole-body health problems originate in the mouth, while others are identifiable by symptoms in the mouth. This means if you care about your overall health, you oral health is a key part of that picture.
A new study about coronary heart disease is a new link in the chain connecting oral health and overall health. While previous studies had correlated overall tooth loss and gum disease with heart disease, these studies included teeth lost during childhood, and even included teeth that were removed as part of orthodontic work. This new collaborative study by researchers from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wanted to focus on tooth loss during middle age. Researchers believe this is more likely to be related to inflammation. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss at this time. As a chronic infection, gum disease causes systemic inflammation.
Over the eight year research period, the participants who lost two or more teeth were a staggering 23% more likely to have cardiovascular disease, regardless of other factors like diet, exercise, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes. These results suggest that keeping an eye on oral health could be key to managing your risk of cardiovascular disease in middle age.
Missing Teeth Can Be Replaced
Treating gum disease can protect you from heart disease and tooth loss.
Unfortunately, once your teeth are gone, you can’t get them back. Luckily, dental implants are almost as good as having your natural teeth back. Implants are titanium screws that bond to the jaw similar to natural teeth. This makes them sturdy and capable of doing everything that your natural teeth can do. We cap that screw with a natural-looking crown made from advanced dental ceramic, which is durable as well as attractive. Once complete, your dental implant will be indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
But dental implants don’t just help your smile’s aesthetics; they can help counteract the negative health impacts of tooth loss, too. Your jaw bone can lose bone density if the roots of your teeth don’t stimulate it, but dental implants can prevent that from happening. Additionally, any issues with diet or oral hygiene that a gap might cause can be mitigated by an implant.