Objectives: Many studies have reported associations between oral health and cardiovascular diseases; poor nutritional status due to impaired dentition status has been suggested as a mediator. Our objective is to evaluate the associations between tooth loss and the self-reported consumption of fruits and vegetables and selected CVD-related nutrients.
Methods: A total of 83,104 US women who completed a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in 1990 and 1994 and reported number of natural teeth in 1992, were included in a cross-sectional analysis relating dietary intake to number of natural teeth. A longitudinal analysis was also conducted to evaluate whether tooth loss in 1990-1992 was associated with change in diet between 1990 and 1994.
Results: After adjusting for age, total calorie intake, smoking and physical activity, edentulous women appeared to have dietary intake associated with increased risk for CVD, including significantly higher intake of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and vitamin B12, and lower intake of polyunsaturated fat, fiber, carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, vegetables, fruits, and fruits excluding juices compared with women with 25-32 teeth. In the longitudinal analyses, women who lost more teeth were more likely to change their diet in ways that would potentially increase risk for development of CVD. They also tended to avoid hard foods, such as raw carrot, fresh apple or pear.
Conclusions: Women with fewer teeth have unhealthier diets such as decreased intake of fruits and vegetables, which could increase CVD risk. Diet may partially explain associations between oral health and cardiovascular disease.