Aims: To examine the associations of physical activity with interleukin 1-β (IL-1β), C-reactive protein (CRP) and periodontitis and to investigate whether any relationship between physical activity and inflammatory mediators differs between periodontitis cases and non-cases.
Material and Methods: In this population-based case control study of Australians aged 18+ years, dentists conducted oral epidemiologic examinations identifying cases with moderate or severe periodontitis and periodontally healthy controls. Gingival crevicular fluid samples collected during examinations were analysed for inflammatory biomarkers. Subject-completed questionnaires assessed leisure-time physical activity. Exposure odds ratios (ORs) were estimated in multivariable logistic regression models adjusting for periodontitis risk indicators.
Results: Of 751 subjects (359 cases, 392 controls), those meeting a prescribed threshold for leisure-time physical activity had lower adjusted odds of elevated IL-1β: OR=0.69, (95% CI=0.50–0.94) and detectable CRP: OR=0.70 (0.50–0.98) than less active adults. Physical activity was not associated with periodontitis: OR=1.14 (0.80–1.62). Periodontitis modified the association between levels of physical activity and detectable CRP. Increasing quartiles of physically activity were associated with decreasing probability of detectable CRP, but the effect was limited to periodontitis cases and was not apparent among non-cases.
Conclusion: Leisure-time physical activity may protect against an excessive inflammatory response in periodontitis.