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Obesity and periodontitis in 60–70-year-old men


  • Conflict of interest and source of funding statement
    The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
    This research was supported by a grant from the Northern Ireland NHS Research and Development Fund.

Gerry J. Linden
School of Dentistry
Queen's University
Grosvenor Road
BT12 6BP


Objective: The aim was to investigate whether there was an association between obesity and periodontitis in a homogeneous group of 60–70-year-old Western European men. The study also explored whether a high body mass index (BMI) in early life predicted poor periodontal status in later life.

Methodology: A representative sample of the male population of UK, who were enrolled in a cohort study of cardiovascular disease, was examined between 2001 and 2003. A total of 1362 men with six or more teeth completed a questionnaire, had a clinical periodontal examination and had their weight and height recorded. Multivariable analysis was carried out using logistic regression with adjustment for possible confounders. Models were constructed with low- and high- threshold periodontitis as dependent variables and with BMI as a categorical predictor variable. Low-threshold periodontitis was identified when at least two teeth had geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted6 mm loss of attachment and at least one site had a pocket of geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted5 mm. High-threshold periodontitis was identified when geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted15% of sites had geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted6 mm loss of attachment and there was deep pocketing (geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted6 mm). Modelling was repeated for other predictor variables including BMI at 21 years of age and change in weight since 21 years of age.

Results: Two hundred and ninety-eight (21.9%) of the men studied, who had a BMI of >30 kg/m2, were classified as obese. Obesity was associated with low-threshold periodontitis, odds ratio (OR)=1.77 (p=0.004) after adjustment for confounders. The BMI at 21 years of age did not predict periodontitis in the men investigated. Participants who had experienced a large (>30%) increase in weight during adulthood had an increased risk of poor periodontal condition; however, this was attenuated and no longer significant after adjustment for confounders.

Conclusions: It is concluded that obesity was associated with periodontitis in the homogeneous group of 60–70-year-old European men investigated. High BMI levels in early life did not predict periodontitis in later life in the men studied.