OBJECTIVES: To assess the association between cognitive function and periodontal disease in noninstitutionalized older adults.
DESIGN: Population-based cross-sectional study.
SETTING: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001 to 2002.
PARTICIPANTS: Eight hundred three dentate participants aged 60 and older who completed the periodontal examination and cognitive function test.
MEASUREMENTS: Periodontal examination, including assessment of probing depth and attachment loss, was performed. Periodontal disease was defined as at least 10% of sites with clinical attachment loss of more than 4 mm and at least 10% sites with probing depth greater than 3 mm. Cognitive function was measured using the 2-minute Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST).
RESULTS: Higher cognitive function was associated with lower odds of periodontal disease. After controlling for demographics, educational level, body mass index, chronic diseases, health behaviors, bleeding on probing, and probing sites, the odds ratio for periodontal disease was 0.69 (95% confidence interval=0.51–0.94) for each standard deviation (SD) increase in the DSST score. Each SD increase in DSST score was associated with a 31% less likelihood of periodontal disease. Mean DSST scores for participants with and without periodontal disease were 42.2 and 45.5 (P=.02), respectively.
CONCLUSION: Higher cognitive function was associated with lower odds of periodontal disease in noninstitutionalized older adults.