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J Hepatol. 1995 May;22(5):576-82.

Dental and periodontal disease in patients with cirrhosis--role of etiology of liver disease.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine IV, University of Vienna, Austria.



Bacterial infections are frequent complications in patients with cirrhosis, especially in alcoholics. A potential source of infection may be dental foci. The aim of the study was to assess the role of cirrhosis and chronic alcoholism in the development of dental or periodontal disease.


Dental and periodontal examinations were performed prospectively in 97 patients with cirrhosis (alcoholic: 64, nonalcoholic: 33), in 68 alcoholics without cirrhosis and in 71 healthy subjects (subdivided into age groups: 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, and 51-60 years).


Measures of oral hygiene (p < 0.01), dental care (p < 0.001), and periodontal parameters were worse and the number of teeth requiring treatment (p < 0.001) was higher in alcoholics with or without cirrhosis than in healthy subjects and nonalcoholic patients with cirrhosis. Alcoholics had a lower total number of teeth than patients without alcohol abuse and healthy controls (p < 0.05). The dental and periodontal status of patients with nonalcoholic cirrhosis did not differ from the control group. The severity and duration of liver disease had no influence on dental and peridontal disease.


The presence of cirrhosis itself, therefore, is not a predisposing factor for dental and periodontal diseases. In alcoholics, these diseases appear to be caused primarily by bad oral hygiene and poor dental care.

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