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Tooth Loss and Heart Attacks

A study from Harvard School of Public Health shows that doctors who have gum disease are at high risk for having blocked arteries in their legs.

Many previous studies have reported the association between gum disease and heart attacks and strokes. This study shows that men who suffer from gum disease have one and a half times the chance of having blocked arteries to their legs, while losing teeth from gum disease doubles chances. Having lost a tooth in the last six years markedly increased a person's chances of having blocked arteries.

For years, doctors were unable to explain why many people with high cholesterol levels do not suffer heart attacks, while many with low levels suffer heart attacks. Recent research show that inflammation is a stronger predictor of heart attacks than cholesterol, and inflammation is often caused by infection. If you have infected gums, a check with your dentist could save your life.

More on gum disease and heart attacks
More on inflammation

Oral health and peripheral arterial disease. Circulation, 2003, Vol 107, Iss 8, pp 1152-1157. HC Hung, W Willett, A Merchant, BA Rosner, A Ascherio, KJ Joshipura. Joshipura KJ, Harvard Univ, Sch Dent Med, Dept Oral Hlth Policy & Epidemiol, 188 Longwood Ave, Boston,MA 02115 USA

Checked 10/31/10

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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