Periodontal disease is one of the main reasons for the loss of teeth in elderly subjects, and it has been reported that periodontal disease is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease. However, little data is available regarding the association between dental status and blood pressure or heart rate in elderly individuals, particularly in subjects over 80 years old. We studied the cross-sectional association between dental status and blood pressure or heart rate in 499 Japanese (195 men and 304 women) who were 80 years old. The subjects were divided into 4 groups according to the number of original teeth; ie, edentulous (n = 176), 1 to 9 teeth (n = 141), 10 to 19 teeth (n = 109), and more than 20 teeth (n = 73). Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures did not differ among the groups. However, heart rate decreased from 71.6 and 72.2 /min in the edentulous and 1 to 9 teeth groups, respectively, to 67.3 and 67.4 /min in the 10 to 19 teeth and more than 20 teeth groups, respectively (test for trend, P = 0.0008). In multiple regression analysis, the inverse association between the number of teeth and heart rate was statistically significant independently of other confounding factors. These results are the first to show a close inverse relationship between the number of teeth and heart rate in octogenariars, although the underlying mechanisms have not been determined.
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