May 19, 2005 Elderly persons with active root caries, a type of tooth decay, have an increased risk of having irregular heart beats. This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
A total of 125 generally healthy individuals over the age of 80, living in urban, community-based populations were examined. Researchers discovered that persons with three or more active root caries had more than twice the odds of cardiac arrhythmias of those without. Researchers indicate that root caries may be a marker of general physical decline in the elderly and specifically underscore the mouth as an integral part of the body.
"The findings make a strong case for the active assessment of and attention to oral problems for the older community-dwelling population," states Poul Holm-Pedersen, lead author of the study. Because arrhythmias can signify other possibly undiagnosed diseases in older people, researchers stress the importance of taking dental diseases seriously.
The advanced age of those who participated in the study may have been a factor in determining an association between overall periodontal disease and arrhythmia since those who might have been strong examples of this association may not have survived to age 80.
This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Poul Holm-Pedersen, DDS, PhD is a Professor and Director of Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Center, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the recipient of the International Association of Dental Research Distinguished Scientist Award for Geriatric Oral Research and has written widely on this subject.
About the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society publishes articles that are relevant in the broadest terms to the clinical care of older persons. Such articles may span a variety of disciplines and fields and may be of immediate, intermediate, or long-term potential benefit to clinical practice.
About the American Geriatrics Society
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is the premier professional organization of health care providers dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all older adults. With an active membership of over 6,000 health care professionals, the AGS has a long history of effecting change in the provision of health care for older adults. In the last decade, the Society has become a pivotal force in shaping attitudes, policies and practices regarding health care for older people. Visit www.americangeriatrics.org for more information.
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