Objectives: To determine the association between periodontal disease and weight loss in an elderly cohort.
Design: A longitudinal design was used with participants from the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) cohort study to determine the association between periodontal disease status and weight loss of at least 5% of baseline body weight over a period of 2 years.
Setting: Participants were examined in research clinics in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee.
Participants: A randomly selected subset of 1,053 individuals from the Health ABC examination, aged 65 and older, ambulatory and community-dwelling at baseline.
Measurements: Periodontal disease was measured as mean pocket depth and attachment loss, extent (percentage) of pockets with at least 6 mm probing depth, extent of bleeding on probing, and tissue inflammation.
Results: In logistic regression models adjusting for variables that may explain weight loss, extent of periodontal pockets with at least 6 mm probing depth showed a significant association with weight loss (odds ratio=1.53, 95% confidence interval=1.32–1.77).
Conclusion: Periodontal disease may be causally related to weight loss in the elderly and thus may increase risk of morbidity and mortality.