Tooth Loss During Middle Age: A Cardiovascular Risk

New Study Proves the Connection

Studies have shown that dental health problems, like periodontal disease, are related to inflammation, diabetes, smoking and a not-so-healthy diet, according to a study, out of the department of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Previous research has pointed out that there’s an association between dental issues and cardiovascular disease risk. If you had dental issues which eventually led to loss of teeth, it equates with an increased risk of this type of health problem.

However, most of that research looked at cumulative tooth loss over a lifetime, starting as early as childhood tooth loss. It is the tooth loss in middle age that’s more likely related to inflammation, but it hasn’t been clear how this later-in-life tooth loss might influence cardiovascular disease risk.

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health collaborated in this new study analyzing the impact of tooth loss in large studies of adults, aged 45 to 69 years. Participant recorded their number of natural teeth at the onset with a follow-up of reported recent tooth loss. They didn’t have cardiovascular disease at the beginning. Researchers followed up in the next 8 years, afterwards followed an incidence of cardiovascular disease among those with no tooth loss, with one tooth lost, and two or more teeth lost over 12-18 years.

Cardiovascular disease risk among all those studied (regardless of the number of natural teeth) increased among those losing two or more teeth during the study period, compared to those who didn’t lose any teeth. Those with less than 17 natural teeth at the beginning were 25% more likely to have cardiovascular disease.

With the knowledge that tooth loss in middle age can signal elevated cardiovascular disease risk, adults can take steps to reduce the increased risk early on. Regular dental visits should be a crucial practise by younger adults in order to spot potential issues. Oral hygiene is also integral to preservation of one’s dentition.

Early Tooth Preservation in Bellingham

As early as possible, have your oral health overseen by your trusted dental experts here at Dr. Tetrick’s in Bellingham. Reduce your chances of tooth loss early and lessen your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Can’t Exactly Tell Which Tooth is Aching?

Your Brain and Your Tooth Ache

Most people are so tuned in to pain they exactly know where it hurts – a knife cut in the middle finger or a splinter caught under the thumb nail, even if the fingers involved are near each other. It is not so readily easy with toothache in the mouth. A new study from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany is one of the first to address the puzzle of toothache localization.

Researchers analyzed brain activity in healthy volunteers as they experienced tooth pain. They delivered short electrical pulses to the upper left canine tooth or the lower left canine tooth in the subjects. These bursts of electrical stimulation produced a painful sensation similar to that felt when biting into an ice cube and were tuned such that the subject always rated the pain to be about 60%, with 100% being the worst pain imaginable.

The researchers used fMRI to monitor changes in activity when the upper tooth or the lower tooth was electrocuted. Many brain regions responded to top and bottom tooth pain in the same way, for the signals came from two branches of the trigeminal nerve . The V2 branch carries pain signals from the upper jaw, and the V3 branch carries pain signals from the lower jaw. Regions in the cerebral cortex behaved similarly for both toothaches. These brain regions are known to play important roles in the pain projection system, yet none showed major differences between the two toothaches.

Though the stimulation was more or less the same, the experiments might have missed subtle differences that could account for why some tooth pain can be localized and some can’t. The person couldn’t tell where the pain was coming from, so dentists should be aware that patients aren’t always able to locate the pain source. There are physiological and anatomical reasons involved.
These findings are consistent with what dentists see in practice – the brain is unable to tell top-tooth pain from bottom-tooth pain.

Understanding the pathway from tooth to brain may help researchers devise better treatments for acute tooth pain, such as cavities or infections, and more-chronic conditions, such as phantom pain that persists in the mouth after a tooth has been removed.

Understanding Tooth Pain Locations in Bellingham

Are you experiencing tooth pain and can’t exactly tell us which or where? No worries. It’s a common enough dilema. Come to us in Bellingham for a consult and let us look you over and help.

What Ingredient in Toothpaste Helps Best?

Pros and Cons of Alternative Toothpastes

The Los Angeles Dental Society talks about the pros and cons of some of the popular alternative toothpaste in the market today. Like most commercial health and beauty products, toothpaste has been industrialized over the years. Fluoride is still a popular ingredient and its benefits well studied. To curb excessive use of fluoride, the ADA lends its seal of acceptance on those brands that conform with the safe and proper proportions of fluoride. Question is, do these other alternative oral care products actually clean teeth and prevent cavities?


Synonymous with “black”, charcoal is claimed to help whiten your teeth. The abrasiveness of charcoal helps remove stains, helps raise the pH in your mouth which in turn helps neutralize acids. While there’s no proof that it’s a better option than regular toothpaste, charcoal-based toothpaste may be too abrasive if the quantities are too high.

Baking Soda

Although baking soda does help to remove plaque, it doesn’t kill any bacteria, and that can actually increase cavity formation in your teeth. Its abrasive properties that help clean your teeth can also damage the enamel, so it’s best to use baking soda and baking soda-heavy products only occasionally.


It is known to be anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. If you use cinnamon in too strong a concentration or too frequently, you may wind up with red and white patches in your mouth that burn. With a condition called cinnamon-induced oral mucosal contact reaction, you’ll need to stop using cinnamon-flavored products, including toothpastes and gum.

Coconut Oil

It has been shown to help prevent and treat oral candida infections or thrush. However, whether it will reduce cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth is still in question. Some small studies suggest its antibacterial ability helps reduce plaque and gingivitis, but more research is needed for a solid conclusion.

Sea Salt

Sea salts can temporarily raise the pH in your mouth, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to thrive. That’s why it’s also a top ingredient in homemade toothpastes.

Recommending Best Toothpaste Ingredients

Alternative toothpaste with their cleaning effects have their own benefits to boast. It just may be more safe for consumers to use them in moderation. Ask your Bellingham dentist about them.