Periodontitis and coronary artery calcification: The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study

Sarah A. Nakib, James S. Pankow, James D. Beck, Steven Offenbacher, Gregory W. Evans, Moise Desvarieux, Aaron R. Folsom

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38 Scopus citations


Background: Periodontitis has been linked to coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, possibly through providing a systemic inflammatory burden. Few studies have evaluated periodontitis and subclinical measures of atherosclerosis. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is an emerging marker for atherosclerosis, and past studies suggest that it predicts incident CHD in asymptomatic populations. Methods: In 1996-1998, dental examinations were performed on 6,931 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort. Extent of periodontitis was measured by the percent of sites with attachment level (AL) ≥3 mm. In 1999-2000, CAC was measured by cardiac gated mechanical or helical computed tomography in 269 dental examinees and edentulous subjects from the Minnesota and North Carolina field centers of ARIC who were free of clinically recognized CHD. A traditional Agatston score for CAC was calculated. Results: Compared to subjects with no or mild periodontitis (<10% of sites with AL ≥3 mm), subjects with moderate or severe periodontitis (≥10% of sites with AL ≥3 mm) were more likely to have CAC ≥ 100, but this difference was not statistically significant (odds ratio [OR]: 1.78; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.65 to 4.86). This association was partially but not completely attenuated when adjusted for demographic factors and traditional CHD risk factors (OR: 1.51; 95% CI: 0.54 to 4.23). Conclusions: These results suggest that periodontitis is not strongly associated with CAC. This study offers some reference for the magnitude of the association between CAC and periodontitis and information regarding the minimal power necessary for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Coronary arteriosclerosis
  • Infection
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Periodontitis


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