Oral infections up-regulate a number of systemic inflammatory reactions that, in turn, play a role in the development of systemic diseases. We investigated the association between oral health and autoimmune diseases in a cohort of Swedish adults. Hypothesis was that poor oral health associates with incidence of autoimmune diseases. Overall 1676 subjects aged 30-40 years old from Stockholm County (Sweden) participated in this study in 1985. Subjects were randomly selected from the registry file of Stockholm region and were followed-up for 30 years. Their hospital and open health care admissions (World Health Organization ICD 9 and 10 codes) were recorded from the Swedish national health registers. The association between the diagnosed autoimmune disease and the oral health variables were statistically analyzed. In all, 50 patients with autoimmune diagnoses were detected from the data. Plaque index was significantly higher in the autoimmune disease group (≥median 35 (70%) vs. ˂median 872 (54%), p = 0.030). No statistical difference was found in gingival index, calculus index, missing teeth, periodontal pockets, smoking or snuff use between patients with and without autoimmune disease. Our study hypothesis was partly confirmed. The result showed that subjects with a higher plaque index, marker of poor oral hygiene, were more likely to develop autoimmune diseases in 30 years.
Keywords: association; autoimmune disease; follow-up study; oral health; plaque index.