Background and purpose: Periodontal and other infections have been suggested as potential risk factors for stroke. This study evaluates periodontal disease and tooth loss as risk factors for ischemic stroke.
Methods: The study population consisted of 41 380 men who were free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes at baseline. Periodontal disease history was assessed by mailed validated questionnaires. During 12 years of follow-up, stroke incidence was assessed and subclassified by use of medical history, medical records, and imaging reports. Hazard ratios (HRs) were adjusted for age, amount smoked, obesity, alcohol, exercise, family history of cardiovascular disease, multivitamin use, vitamin E use, profession, baseline reported hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. Sex and socioeconomic status were inherently controlled for by restriction. Confounding variables were updated in the analyses for each 2-year follow-up interval.
Results: We documented 349 ischemic stroke cases during the follow-up period. Men who had < or =24 teeth at baseline were at a higher risk of stroke compared to men with > or =25 teeth (HR=1.57; 95% CI, 1.24 to 1.98). There was little evidence of an increased risk with recent tooth loss during follow-up. A modest association was seen between baseline periodontal disease history and ischemic stroke (HR=1.33; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.70). Addition of dietary factors to the model changed the HR only slightly.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that periodontal disease and fewer teeth may be associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke.