Indexed on: 07 Aug '13Published on: 07 Aug '13Published in: Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Previous studies have suggested that marginal periodontitis is a risk factor for developing atherosclerosis. The objective of this study was to determine whether caries may also be associated with atherosclerosis.The computed tomography data sets of 292 consecutive patients, 137 women and 155 men with a mean age of 54.1±17.3 years, were analyzed. Caries were quantified based on the number of decayed surfaces of all the teeth, and periodontitis was quantified on the basis of the horizontal bone loss in the jaw. The presence of chronic apical periodontitis (CAP) was assessed, and the aortic atherosclerotic burden was quantified using a calcium scoring method.The patients with <1 caries surfaces/tooth had a lower atherosclerotic burden (0.13±0.61 mL) than patients with ≥1 caries surfaces/tooth. The atherosclerotic burden was greater in patients with a higher number of lesions with pulpal involvement and more teeth with chronic apical periodontitis. In the logistical regression models, age (Wald 49.3), number of caries per tooth (Wald 26.4), periodontitis (Wald 8.6), and male gender (Wald 11) were found to be independent risk factors for atherosclerosis. In the linear regression analyses, age and the number of decayed surfaces per tooth were identified as influencing factors associated with a higher atherosclerotic burden, and the number of restorations per tooth was associated with a lower atherosclerotic burden.Dental caries, pulpal caries, and chronic apical periodontitis are associated positively, while restorations are associated inversely, with aortic atherosclerotic burden. Prospective studies are required to confirm these observations and answer the question of possible causality.