Children who develop cavities and gum disease may be more likely to develop risk factors for heart attacks and strokes decades later than kids who have good oral health, a recent study suggests.
Researchers did dental exams for 755 children in 1980, when they were eight years old on average, then followed them through 2007 to see how many of them developed risk factors for heart attacks and strokes like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, and hardening of the arteries.
Overall, just 33 kids, or 4.5 percent, had no signs of bleeding, cavities, fillings, or pockets around teeth that can signal gum disease. Almost six percent of the kids had one of these four signs of oral infections, while 17 percent had two signs, 38 percent had three signs, and 34 percent had all four signs.
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