Tooth Loss Damages Diet

Can lead to less healthy eating habits, study finds

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THURSDAY, Sept. 25, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Changes in your diet caused by tooth loss could increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic health problems.

That warning comes from a study in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Harvard University researchers assessed the relationship between tooth loss and diet changes over eight years among 31,813 male health professionals. The researchers focused on specific foods and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, fiber, cholesterol, certain kinds of fats and vitamins.

During the study, 78.3 percent of the men did not lose teeth, 18.8 percent lost one to four teeth, and 2.8 percent lost five or more teeth. The study found worrisome dietary changes in the men who lost five or more teeth, compared with the men who lost no teeth.

For example, the men who lost five or more teeth had a greater reduction in their intake of vitamin E, a smaller reduction in their intake of dietary cholesterol and a smaller increase in their intake of dietary fiber and whole fruits, compared to men who didn't lose any teeth.

"The results of this study support the detrimental impact of tooth loss on dietary intake. Our results suggest that changes in diet owing to tooth loss could contribute to an increased risk of chronic disease that has been associated with poor dentition," the Harvard researchers write.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about heart disease.

SOURCE: American Dental Association, news release, September 2003

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