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Missing teeth associated with blocked arteries

Researchers at Downstate Medical Center in New York have discovered a possible link between the number of missing teeth and the severity of atherosclerosis or blocked arteries.//

The researchers checked up on the number of missing teeth in 115 patients referred for transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and measured the concurrent thickness of the aortic plaque using this method. They also looked for the presence of periodontal disease in these patients. They conclude that the main cause of aortic atherosclerosis is age followed by tooth loss and calcium channel blocker drug use. Plaque build up in major arteries is usually a precursor to heart attacks.

Dentists have always advised the replacement of missing teeth as soon as possible. Besides being hard for chewing, the non-replacement of missing teeth is also implicated in excess calcium loss from the body, especially in the jaw bones.

Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians


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