• Open Access

Association between obesity and periodontal disease in young adults: a population-based birth cohort


  • Conflict of interest and source of funding statement

    The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

  • This article is based on data from the study “Pelotas birth cohort, 1982” conducted by Postgraduate Program in Epidemiology at Universidade Federal de Pelotas. The 1982 birth cohort study is currently supported by the Wellcome Trust Initiative entitled Major Awards for Latin America on Health Consequences of Population Change. Previous phases of the study were supported by the International Development Research Center, The World Health Organization, Overseas Development Administration, European Union, National Support Program for Centers of Excellence (PRONEX), the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) and Brazilian Ministry of Health. The Oral Health Studies were supported by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) – Research Financing (Process 479621/20047 – Flávio Fernando Demarco and Process 476985/20045 – Karen Glazer Peres).


Eduardo Dickie de Castilhos

Post-Graduate Program in Epidemiology

Pelotas Federal University

Avenida Marechal Deodoro

1160 – Terceiro Andar

Cep: 96020-220

Caixa postal 464

Pelotas, RS


E-mail: eduardo.dickie@gmail.com



To evaluate the association between obesity and periodontal disease and the mediating effect of oral hygiene, systemic inflammation and carbohydrate intake.

Material and methods

Subjects born in 1982 in Pelotas, Brazil (= 5,914), have been followed for several times. Oral health was assessed in a representative sample of 720 individuals at 24 years. Obesity, waist circumference and number of episodes with obesity between 15 and 23 years of age were the main exposures. Mediating effect of oral hygiene, C-reactive protein level and carbohydrate consumption was also assessed.


Obese individuals were more likely to have ≥2 teeth with gingival bleeding. However, after adjusting for confounders, the association was not statistically significant [OR (obese × 2 or more teeth) 1.72 (95% CI: 0.95, 3.11)] and adjustment for potential mediators decreased the OR (OR = 1.38). The risk of presenting calculus in obese subjects was 10% higher [PR 1.10 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.18)]. The number of episodes of obesity between 15 and 23 years was associated with dental calculus. Periodontal pockets were not associated with obesity.


Systemic inflammation and oral hygiene may be mediating the association between obesity and gingivitis. Obesity was not associated with periodontal pockets in young adults in this cohort.