OBJECTIVE: To identify associations between periodontitis and incidence of cerebrovascular disease.
METHODS: We analyzed data of 1,137 dentate men in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging and Dental Longitudinal Study who were followed with triennial medical/dental exams for up to 34 years (mean, 24 years). We evaluated incidence of cerebrovascular events consistent with stroke or transient ischemic attack in relation to mean radiographic alveolar bone loss (a measure of periodontitis history) and cumulative periodontal probing depth (a measure of current periodontal inflammation). Cox proportional hazards models were fit controlling for age, baseline socioeconomic status, and time-varying effects of established cardiovascular risk factors.
RESULTS: Eighty incident cases of cerebrovascular disease occurred from 27,506 person-years. Periodontal bone loss was significantly associated with an increased hazard rate (HR) of cerebrovascular disease (HR, 3.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.59-7.81 comparing highest to lowest bone loss category; p for trend, <0.001). There was a stronger effect among men aged <65 years (HR, 5.81; 95% CI, 1.63-20.7) as compared with men aged > or =65 years (HR, 2.39; 95% CI, 0.91-6.25). Periodontal probing depth was not associated with a significantly increased rate of cerebrovascular disease in the combined or age-stratified analyses.
INTERPRETATION: These results support an association between history of periodontitis-but not current periodontal inflammation-and incidence of cerebrovascular disease in men, independent of established cardiovascular risk factors, particularly among men aged <65 years.