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Repeated Root Canals More Common in Heart Disease Patients

A U.S. study of more than 6,000 people has found that those who have had repeated root canal treatment also are more likely to have heart disease.

Several studies have linked periodontal disease with heart disease. However, little research has been done on root canal treatment and heart disease.

People in the study were asked how many times they had root canal treatment. Researchers used medical records to decide who had a history of heart disease.

Among people with at least 25 teeth, having more than one root canal was linked with heart disease. People who had at least two root canal treatments were 62% more likely to have heart disease than people who never had a root canal.

There was no relationship between root canals and heart disease in people with fewer than 25 teeth.

The study had no way to double-check people's reporting. Some people may have confused root canal treatment with other kinds of dental treatment. A small percentage of people said they weren't sure whether they had had a root canal.

Root canal therapy removes the tooth's pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves. It's also called endodontic therapy.

The treatment often is needed because the pulp is infected. Periodontal disease also is a bacterial infection. Researchers suggest that the body's response to infection could sometimes lead to an increased risk of heart problems.

Only a few other studies have looked at relationships between root-canal treatment and heart disease. Two studies found similar results to this one. A third study found no relationship.

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