Want to know your chances of a heart attack? Check your mouth for any lost teeth: if you have five or more missing, your risk could be as high as 140 per cent.
And if you have nine or more missing teeth, you also have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and even death.
But why? The health of your teeth and gums are a tell-tale sign of your overall health, and especially whether you have inflammation, one of the key indicators of heart disease, say researchers from Helsinki University.
Inflammation of the gums is known as periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that appears as gingival bleeding, and eventually leads to tooth loss if left untreated. But nobody is sure what comes first: is periodontitis a manifestation of inflammatory disease elsewhere in the body or does it cause it?
(Source: Journal of Dental Research, 2015; doi: 10.1177/0022034515586352)