(HealthDay News) — Your teeth may be a good indicator of your heart health, the American Heart Association says.

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A recent clinical study focusing on tooth loss during midlife found that people who lost two or more teeth during the trial had a 23 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The increase occurred regardless of other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

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“Some reasons for the increased risk may include inflammation, modifying dietary intakes or changing bacterial compositions in the mouth or gastrointestinal systems,” said researcher Dr. Lu Qi, a professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Ork\leans.

The study was conducted by the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The mouth can be a good warning signpost,” said Dr. Ann Bolger, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. “People with periodontitis often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk, but their heart and blood vessels, too.”

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