Chronic Periodontitis is Associated With Cerebral Atherosclerosis –A Nationwide Study

Chronic periodontitis and atherosclerosis share common risk factors and produce the same inflammatory markers. Many studies found a high prevalence of chronic periodontitis in patients with atherosclerosis but there is no strong evidence to support a specific association of chronic periodontitis with cerebral atherosclerosis. We aimed to study the concurrent prevalence and association of chronic periodontitis with cerebral atherosclerosis and cerebrovascular diseases among the US population.

We performed a cross-sectional analysis of a Nationwide Inpatient Sample with adult hospitalizations to identify the primary diagnosis of cerebrovascular diseases [acute ischemic stroke (AIS), hemorrhagic stroke (HS), and transient ischemic attack (TIA)] with concurrent cerebral atherosclerosis and chronic periodontitis. Multivariate survey logistic regression models were fitted to evaluate the linkage of chronic periodontitis with cerebral atherosclerosis and cerebrovascular diseases.

Of total 56,499,788 hospitalizations, 0.01% had chronic periodontitis. Prevalence of chronic periodontitis was higher in 50-64 years (36.18% vs. 23.91%), males (59.19% vs. 41.06% in females), Afro-Americans (25.93% vs. 15.21%), and 0-25th percentile median-household-income-category (38.31% vs. 30.15%) compared to non-chronic periodontitis. There was significantly higher prevalence of cerebral atherosclerosis (0.71% vs. 0.41%; p<0.0001) with weak evidence of high prevalence of cerebrovascular diseases (AIS:2.21% vs. 1.97%; p=0.1563; HS:0.57% vs. 0.46%; p=0.1560) among chronic periodontitis compared to non-chronic periodontitis. In regression analysis, odds of having cerebral atherosclerosis were 2.48-folds higher in patients with chronic periodontitis compared to that without-chronic periodontitis, and cerebral atherosclerosis patients were associated with higher odds of TIA (aOR:2.40; p<0.0001), AIS (aOR:3.35; p<0.0001), and HS (aOR:1.51; p<0.0001) compared to without-cerebral atherosclerosis. No significant relationship between chronic periodontitis and cerebrovascular diseases was observed.

Although chronic periodontitis may not directly increase the risk of cerebrovascular diseases, it increases the burden of cerebrovascular diseases by evidently increasing the risk of cerebral atherosclerosis. Early identification of chronic periodontitis and atherosclerotic risk factors may help to mitigate the risk of cerebrovascular diseases.