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Opinions

Women with poor oral health are likelier to die early

woman-periodontal

Oral health turns out to be a huge blessing once you lose it. Not only does it show the hygiene of the mouth and teeth but also the overall health of the human body. A research published in the American Heart Association deduced that women whose oral health is not up to par past their menopause are likelier to die early.

Studies say that women above 45-50 years of age are at a 12% higher risk of death if they had previous history of periodontal diseases. And if natural teeth loss occurs then risk increases to 17%. Keep in mind though, that the research head Michael J. LaMonte, a research associate professor at the University of Buffalo specified that the study only indicates a relation between oral health and premature death. It does not show any correlation between tooth loss/gum diseases causing death.

The condition of losing death prematurely, known as edentulism and periodontitis, are believed to be the result of lung disease, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes and chronic aging. LaMone and his fellow colleagues performed a study on 57,001 women who were in the age groups of 50- 79 and were patients of 40 US health centers.

In the 6 & ½ year program, it was seen that 3589 women suffered from cardiovascular disease and 3816 died. Yet it was also discovered that even though dental diseases were an indication of other medical illnesses, there was no difference between those who were regular dentist goes and those who were not.

The research was not able to yield any definite results whether or not dental disease or early teeth loss led to premature death.

A cardiologist in New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr Satjit Bhusri stated that recent research also indicates that, “gum disease and tooth loss is a marker for overall lack of health and, as a result, death”. He goes on to say that these patients who had teeth issues were already suffering from other medical illnesses as well. The relation between dental health and overall health may be related but aren’t directly dependent.

In simple words, both studies signify that hygiene of the mouth shows an overall health condition of a person. LaMonte stated, “Just like screening for high cholesterol or diabetes, the new findings suggest that oral health should be another measure that we do more consistent screening on to avoid health consequences later in life”.

What needs to be remembered is that heart and other cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death among older women. This is the reason why gum health should be monitored along with dietary and lifestyle changes.

April 5, 2017

Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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