Dental Tribune International

Birth cohort study confirms link between overweight and periodontitis

By Dental Tribune International
July 05, 2016

ADELAIDE, Australia/PELOTAS, Brazil: Investigating the link between overweight and periodontitis, a team of researchers has found that people with a higher body mass index do indeed have an increased risk of developing periodontitis compared with individuals of normal weight. In the study, researchers from Australia and Brazil followed a group of 539 Brazilians from birth until the age of 31.

Owing to lifestyle changes, dietary habits, stress and lack of exercise, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has shown a gradual increase in many countries. Various studies have linked overweight and obesity with various systemic conditions, including a higher risk of periodontal disease. However, uncertainty persists regarding the causal relationship of such conditions.

In the study, researchers followed a birth cohort of 539 Brazilians for a period of 31 years. Over the course of the study, the participants underwent regular periodontal examinations comprising full-mouth probing at six sites per tooth using a PCP2 dental probe. In addition, the anthropometric measures and habits of each individual were assessed during the life-course.

Overall, periodontitis risk under no intervention was 33.3 per cent, 14.3 per cent and 14.7 per cent for any periodontitis, moderate or severe periodontitis, and combined bleeding on probing (BOP) and clinical attachment loss (CAL), respectively. Regarding the impact of weight, the results showed that overweight and obesity increased the risk of all outcomes. Specifically, the overall risk of periodontitis was 11 per cent higher in overweight individuals and 22 per cent higher in obese patients. As for moderate and severe periodontitis, the risk was 12 per cent and 27 per cent higher, respectively. Overweight increased the risk of CAL and BOP by 21 per cent and obesity by 57 per cent.

According to the researchers, the impact of overweight and obesity was even greater when combined with unhealthy habits. Based on the findings, it is worth emphasising that a common risk factor approach would be the most effective means of prevention and treatment of periodontal disease, lead researcher Dr Gustavo Nascimento from the Federal University of Pelotas told Dental Tribune Online.

Prof. Marco Peres from the University of Adelaide said that the study’s design in investigating the link between overweight and periodontitis is unique in the literature. “First it has a longitudinal design using a population-based cohort study; and secondly, it has a longitudinal data analysis by using a statistical technique—g-formula—which allows us to take into account time-varying confounders and to simulate different scenarios under hypothetical simultaneous conditions, such as obesity plus smoking, alcohol, inadequate diet, etc.,” he said.

Peres, who is also a councillor of the International Association for Dental Research’s Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Network for the Asia-Pacific region, presented the results of the study, titled “Overweight and obesity impact on periodontitis: A Brazilian birth cohort”, on 23 June in Seoul in South Korea at the 94th General Session and Exhibition of the IADR.

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