Tooth loss, gum disease may up death risk in older women

New York: Postmenopausal women suffering from periodontal diseases like gum disease or tooth loss may be at a greater risk of death, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo in the US analysed the health information of about 57,001 women, 55 years and older.

In the 6.7-year follow up of postmenopausal women studied, researchers found that there were 3,589 cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and 3,816 deaths. Researchers found that history of periodontal disease was associated with a 12 per cent higher risk of death from any cause. Loss of all natural teeth was associated with a 17 per cent higher risk of death from any cause.

The risk of death associated with periodontal disease was comparable regardless of how often women saw their dentists. Women who had lost their teeth were older, had more CVD risk factors, less education and visited the dentist less frequently compared to women with their teeth, researchers said.

“Our findings suggest that older women may be at higher risk for death because of their periodontal condition and may benefit from more intensive oral screening measures,” said Michael J LaMonte of University at Buffalo. “However, studies of interventions aimed at improving periodontal health are needed to determine whether risk of death is lowered among those receiving the intervention compared to those who do not,” LaMonte said. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.