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17-07-2011 | Cardiology | Article

Tooth extraction due to infection linked to myocardial infarction


Free abstract

MedWire News: Researchers in Norway have found a link between nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) in middle-aged and elderly men and tooth extractions due to dental infections.

It is well established that there is a positive link between oral infections and the incidence of cardiovascular disease, as well as an increased level of tooth extraction.

In the current study, Lise Lund Håheim (Institute of Oral Biology, University of Oslo, Norway) and colleagues investigated the relationship between the reasons behind tooth extraction and nonfatal MI.

Men with a self-reported history of MI (n=548) and randomly selected controls (n=625) were taken from a large group (n=6530) who participated in an ongoing health survey in 2000.

Both groups were well matched for current age (48-77 years), but the MI group had (expectedly) statistically higher systolic blood pressure, body mass index, total serum cholesterol, smoking incidence, and use of antihypertensive medication.

Reasons for tooth extraction were grouped into four categories: no history of extractions, noninfection, infection, and both. As analyses showed no difference between the noninfection and no extraction groups, these were combined. The infection and combined infection groups were also combined.

A significantly greater proportion of men with nonfatal MI had extracted teeth than controls (92.7% vs 88.6%), and significantly more extractions due to infection (53.9 % vs 48.6%).

Logistic regression analysis showed that extractions attributed to infections was a significant predictor of nonfatal MI (odds ratio [OR]=1.73). Adjusting the analysis for smoking, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, body mass index and years of education provided an OR=1.64. Smoking significantly increased the risk for tooth extraction in both groups; the intergroup comparison was nonsignificant.

Reporting in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, the authors conclude that "the results indicate that a relationship between oral health and heart disease." Continuing, they write: "The study indicates that maintaining good oral health may be a necessary element in the prevention of MI."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Iain Bartlett

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