UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

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Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Clinical Epidemiology | Diagnosis | Epidemiology | Nervous System Diseases | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Periodontics and Periodontology | Stomatognathic Diseases | Women's Health


BACKGROUND: Few studies have reported associations between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in older women, which is the objective of the present investigation.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants were 57 001 postmenopausal women ages 55 to 89 years (mean 68 years; > 85% 60 and older) who were enrolled (1993-1998) in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, and were without known CVD when history of periodontitis and edentulism was assessed by questionnaire at study Year-5 (1998-2003). There were 3589 incident CVD events and 3816 total deaths during a mean follow-up of 6.7 years. In multivariable analysis, periodontitis was not associated with CVD events, but was associated with higher total mortality (hazard ratio (HR)=1.12, 95% CI: 1.05-1.21). Edentulism was associated with higher age- and smoking-adjusted risks of CVD (HR=1.42, 95% CI: 1.27-1.59) and mortality (HR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.32-1.63). Further adjustment eliminated the association with CVD, but mortality remained significantly increased (HR=1.17, 95% CI: 1.02-1.33). Stratification on age, race-ethnicity, smoking, and diabetes mellitus yielded comparable results; however, edentulism was more strongly associated with CVD in women reporting > /=1 dental visit (HR=1.57) compared with (HR 1.03, interaction P=0.004) annually.

CONCLUSIONS: In community-dwelling older women, edentulism was associated with increased risks of CVD and total mortality, and presence of periodontitis, which is more prevalent than edentulism, was associated with 17% higher mortality rate. These findings suggest that improving periodontal condition of the general population could reduce overall mortality.


cardiovascular disease, epidemiology, mortality, periodontal disease, women's health

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Copyright 2017 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.

DOI of Published Version



J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Mar 29;6(4). pii: e004518. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.004518. Link to article on publisher's site

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Journal of the American Heart Association

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.