Effect of smoking on the association between periodontitis and incidence of coronary heart disease: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Anshuman Sewda, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Multiple studies have shown an association between periodontitis and coronary heart disease due to the chronic inflammatory nature of periodontitis. Also, studies have indicated similar risk factors and patho-physiologic mechanisms for periodontitis and CHD. Among these factors, smoking has been the most discussed common risk factor and some studies suggested the periodontitis - CHD association to be largely a result of confounding due to smoking or inadequate adjustment for it. We conducted a secondary data analysis of the Dental ARIC Study, an ancillary study to the ARIC Study, to evaluate the effect of smoking on the periodontitis - CHD association using three periodontitis classifications namely, BGI, AAP-CDC, and Dental-ARIC classification (Beck et al 2001). We also compared these results with edentulous ARIC participants. Using Cox proportional hazard models, we found that the individuals with the most severe form of periodontitis in each of the three classifications (BGI: HR = 1.56, 95%CI: 1.15 – 2.13; AAP-CDC: HR = 1.42, 95%CI: 1.13 – 1.79; and Dental-ARIC: HR = 1.49, 95%CI: 1.22 – 1.83) were at a significantly higher risk of incident CHD in the unadjusted models; whereas only BGI-P3 showed statistically significant increased risk in the smoking adjusted models (HR = 1.43, 95%CI: 1.04 – 1.96). However none of the categories in any of the classifications showed significant association when a list of traditional CHD risk factors was introduced into the models. On the other hand, edentulous participants showed significant results when compared to the dentate ARIC participants in the crude (HR = 1.56, 95%CI: 1.34 – 1.82); smoking adjusted (HR = 1.39, 95%CI: 1.18 – 1.64) age, race and sex adjusted (HR = 1.52, 95%CI: 1.30 – 1.77); and ARIC traditional risk factors (except smoking) adjusted (HR = 1.27, 95%CI: 1.02 – 1.57) models. Also, the risk remained significantly higher even when smoking was introduced in the age, sex and race adjusted model (HR = 1.38, 95%CI: 1.17 – 1.63). Smoking did not reduce the hazard ratio by more than 8% when it was included in any of the Cox models. ^ This is the first study to include the three most recent case definitions of periodontitis simultaneously while looking at its association with incident coronary heart disease. We found smoking to be partially confounding the periodontitis and coronary heart disease association and edentulism to be significantly associated with incident CHD even after adjusting for smoking and the ARIC traditional risk factors. The difference in the three periodontitis classifications was not found to be statistical significant when they were tested for equality of the area under their ROC curves but this should not be confused with their clinical significance.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Dentistry|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Sewda, Anshuman, "Effect of smoking on the association between periodontitis and incidence of coronary heart disease: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1502178.