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Spec Care Dentist. 2003 Jul-Aug;23(4):125-30.

Periodontal disease and mortality in an aged population.

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Department of Oral Rehabilitation, School of Dentistry, University of Otago, New Zealand


We investigated the relationship between periodontitis and mortality in home-dwelling individuals aged (75+ years), considering potential confounders including C-reactive protein levels. This study involved 364 individuals, originally part of the Helsinki Ageing Study cohort, who underwent medical and dental examinations in 1990 and were followed for five years. After five years, 52 of the 175 dentate subjects had died. Using univariate analysis, the association between baseline periodontitis and mortality was of borderline significance. After controlling for the common risk factors, periodontitis more than doubled the risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality (HR 2.28, CI 1.03-5.05). The increase in total mortality was, however, not statistically significant (HR 1.43, CI 0.81-2.50). Subjects who were edentulous had higher mortality than those who were dentate without periodontitis, but the difference was not statistically significant. A baseline CRP level above 3 mg/l was associated with high mortality; but this effect was significant only among individuals with periodontitis. These results suggest that periodontitis influences the pathogenesis and outcome of cardiovascular disease, especially in individuals who also have evidence of a systemic inflammatory reaction.

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