Objective: Oral infections may increase the levels of cytokines in the blood which, in turn, are associated with early mortality in the elderly. We investigated the possible association between oral infections and mortality.
Design: Prospective cohort study over a 5-year follow-up.
Setting: Research laboratory.
Participants: A cohort born in 1910 (n = 94) was examined in the year 1995. Five years later mortality data were obtained from the population register for 49 deceased subjects.
Main outcome measures: Urgent need of dental treatment, lifetime, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
Results: The multivariate analysis adjusted for general health and lifestyle factors showed that the risk for death of subjects in urgent need of dental treatments was 3.9 times higher than that of the other subjects. Among men ESR correlated significantly with urgent need of dental treatment.
Conclusions: Oral infections among frail elderly people may be a sign of early mortality.