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Further Evidence Links Oral & Heart Health

As a City Center Portland dentist, Dr. Jason Bajuscak and our team at City Dental continue to provide our patients with the latest news regarding oral health. With improved knowledge, Dr. Bajuscak hopes all of our patients have the tools needed to protect their oral health now and into the future.

It’s important that all of our patients understand the compelling links researchers have found between an individual’s oral and overall health. Once again, an oral health problem has been linked to heart disease in a new study. Researchers have found that dental patients with high amounts of plaque and tartar have a higher risk of developing chest pain when compared to patients with healthy teeth and gums.

In the study, researchers followed thousands of Swedish participants for over 26 years. Patients with a high tartar index were significantly more likely to develop chest pains when compared to participants with low tartar buildup, reported researchers in their study published in the journal PLOS One.

The Link Between Heart Disease and Oral Health

While a number of scientific studies have repeatedly linked chronic oral infections with cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, researchers had not previously studied the connection between oral health and less serious cardio problems. Researchers involved in the study specifically wanted to determine whether a connection existed between dental plaque, a common sign of poor oral hygiene, and chest pain, a common sign of heart disease.

As part of their study, researchers used data collected in a long-term study that involved over 1,600 Swedish participants between the ages of 30 and 40 in 1985. The participants underwent dental and medical tests in 1985 and were followed by the Swedish hospital system for 26 years. The study participants were tested again in 2011.

After examining the data, the study authors determined a statistically significant link between plaque build up in 1985 and having developed angina pectoris by 2011.

“In the multiple logistic regression analysis with angina pectoris as the dependent variable and several independent variables … high calculus index appeared to be a principal independent predictor associated with 2.21 times the odds of angina pectoris,” wrote researchers.

Study participants with less education and those missing teeth were also significantly more likely to suffer from chest pains. However, gum recession, plaque index score, and the number of gum disease pockets a patient suffered from did not affect the likelihood of developing chest pain.

Further Research Required

While researchers were surprised by their findings, they cautioned that additional study was required. While the study involved large numbers of participants over an extended period of time, it failed to take into account a number of established risk factors for chest pain, such as blood pressure and lipid profiles. This had led researchers to suggest that future studies consider examining dental calculus as a potential link to coronary artery disease.

As further research is dedicated to this field, City Center Portland dentist, Dr. Jason Bajuscak and our team at City Dental will continue to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments.

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