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Teeth infections triple heart disease risk

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Although a link between teeth and gum health and cardiovascular disease is already known, the new study says the risk is far greater than earlier research had suggested. Poor gum health is also linked to diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and problems with pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland monitored the heart health of 508 patients with an average age of 62; of these, 169 had acute heart problems, and the researchers found a direct correlation between that and tooth and gum infection that hadn’t been treated.

Those who had good oral health were far less likely to also have a heart problem, but others whose teeth infections had not been treated had a 2.7 times greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

A root infection typically manifests as an abscess, but sometimes infection doesn’t have any obvious symptoms. Aside from getting infections treated, people should brush their teeth twice a day and cut down on sugary food and drink, says the Oral Health Foundation.

(Source: Journal of Dental Research, 2016; doi: 10.1177/0022034516660509)

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