Oral health does appear to have an association with mortality patterns, although the exact relationship is difficult to determine due to the presence of confounding factors such as smoking. Using data from the large, ongoing Glasgow Alumni Cohort study, researchers set out to investigate whether oral health in young adults is independently associated with cardiovascular disease later in life. Over 15 000 participants were followed for up to 57 years. Those with nine or more missing teeth at baseline had a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality compared with those with fewer than five missing teeth, after adjusting for potential confounders. The association was not linear, suggesting the relationship is complex and affected by many variables. The authors comment that, as pathological pathways between oral health and systemic disease remain unclear, prospective studies are needed to unravel this complex relationship.
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