Hidden Tooth Infections May Predispose People to Heart Disease

October 2016 Crownicle Newsletter


According to a study carried out at the University of Helsinki, an infection of the root tip of a tooth increases the risk of coronary artery disease, even if the infection is symptomless. The results of the study were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

“Acute coronary syndrome is 2.7 times more common among patients with untreated teeth in need of root canal treatment than among patients without this issue,” says researcher John Liljestrand. Dental root tip infection, or apical periodontitis, is a bodily deference reaction against microbial infection in the dental pulp. Caries is the most common cause of dental root tip infection.

The researchers discovered that dental root tip infections were connected with a high level of serum antibodies related to common bacteria causing such infections. This shows that oral infections affect other parts of the body as well. The statistical analyses took account of age, gender, smoking, type 2 diabetes, body mass index, periodontitis and the number of teeth as confounding factors.

As pertaining to cardiovascular diseases, measures should be taken to prevent or treat oral infections. Root canal treatment of an infected tooth may reduce the risk of heart disease, but more research is needed.

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