Background: The observational relationship between obesity and periodontitis is widely known, yet causal evidence is lacking. Our objective was to investigate causal associations between periodontitis and body mass index (BMI).
Methods: We performed Mendelian randomization analyses with BMI-associated loci combined in a genetic risk score (GRS) as the instrument for BMI. All analyses were conducted within the Gene-Lifestyle Interactions and Dental Endpoints (GLIDE) Consortium in 13 studies from Europe and the USA, including 49,066 participants with clinically assessed (seven studies, 42.1% of participants) and self-reported (six studies, 57.9% of participants) periodontitis and genotype data (17,672/31,394 with/without periodontitis); 68,761 participants with BMI and genotype data; and 57,871 participants (18,881/38,990 with/without periodontitis) with data on BMI and periodontitis.
Results: In the observational meta-analysis of all participants, the pooled crude observational odds ratio (OR) for periodontitis was 1.13 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03, 1.24] per standard deviation increase of BMI. Controlling for potential confounders attenuated this estimate (OR = 1.08; 95% CI:1.03, 1.12). For clinically assessed periodontitis, corresponding ORs were 1.25 (95% CI: 1.10, 1.42) and 1.13 (95% CI: 1.10, 1.17), respectively. In the genetic association meta-analysis, the OR for periodontitis was 1.01 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.03) per GRS unit (per one effect allele) in all participants and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.97, 1.03) in participants with clinically assessed periodontitis. The instrumental variable meta-analysis of all participants yielded an OR of 1.05 (95% CI: 0.80, 1.38) per BMI standard deviation, and 0.90 (95% CI: 0.56, 1.46) in participants with clinical data.
Conclusions: Our study does not support total adiposity as a causal risk factor for periodontitis, as the point estimate is very close to the null in the causal inference analysis, with wide confidence intervals.
Keywords: BMI; Mendelian randomization; casual inference; confounding; periodontitis.
© The Author 2015; all rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.