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Home Industry News Undetected tooth infections ‘can increase risk of heart disease’

Undetected tooth infections ‘can increase risk of heart disease’

5th October 2016

People with tooth infections of which they are unaware may be at a significantly elevated risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

Published in the Journal of Dental Research, the paper found that people with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to experience cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease when compared to patients who have had treatment for dental infections.

These infections occur when decay reaches the dental pulp at the centre of the tooth. This can kill the tooth, resulting in a reservoir of bacteria spreading beyond the end of the root and into the bloodstream.

Responding to these findings, the Oral Health Foundation noted that toothache, sensitivity or bleeding gums can all be signs of a hidden tooth infection, and should be taken as an indicator that a visit to the dentist is needed.

Cardiovascular diseases are known to contribute to an estimated 30 percent of all deaths globally, making it vital that people do everything they can to reduce their risk of heart problems – including looking after their teeth.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive officer of the Oral Health Foundation, said: "Over recent years, problems in the mouth have also been linked to other serious conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and problems with pregnancy, so it is vital that we see our oral health as a priority."

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