What are your chances of developing heart disease? Just look in your mouth to find out. People with bad teeth or bleeding gums are far more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease-and dental problems may not just be a warning sign, they could even be the cause.
The link between bad teeth and gums-known as periodontal disease-and heart disease is strong, say researchers from the University of Uppsala in Sweden, who analysed the overall health and lifestyle of 15,000 heart patients.
Of these, 16 per cent had no teeth, and 41 per cent had fewer than 15 teeth remaining. Around 26 per cent said their gums always bled when they brushed their teeth.
The jury's out, however, over whether bad teeth are a marker for poor health generally or are a cause of heart disease.
(Source: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2014; doi: 10.1177/2047487314530660)