Objectives: There is limited evidence of a temporal relationship between periodontal diseases and self-perceived general health. To plug this knowledge gap, we aimed to assess how periodontal health affects future self-rated health (SRH).
Methods: We collected data from five waves of an annual nationwide Japanese survey of dental patients from 2015 to 2019. The analysis of repeated measurements included 9306 observations from 4242 patients aged 20 years or older. The clinical periodontitis measurements were bleeding on probing, deepest periodontal pocket depth and most severe clinical attachment loss (CAL). We used a self-administered questionnaire to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, diabetes history, health behaviour, SRH and self-reported periodontitis. We applied 2-level ordered logistic regression models for repeated measurements to examine the relationships between SRH (time t) and 1-year-lagged periodontal health (time t-1) after adjusting for covariates.
Results: The percentage of SRH responses recorded at time t as 'good', 'moderate' and 'poor' were 36.9%, 52.4% and 10.7%, respectively. Multivariate analyses showed that the risk of poorer SRH at time t increased in patients with CAL ≥7 mm (odds ratio [OR] = 1.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-1.30), those who reported bleeding gums (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.21-1.46) and those who perceived swollen gums (OR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.26-1.56) at time t-1. Sensitivity analyses using the 4-year follow-up model and 3-year-lagged cohort model also showed consistent results.
Conclusion: Periodontitis shows a gradual contribution to future SRH in dental patients, even after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, general health and health-related behaviours.
Keywords: Japan; periodontal health; self-rated (general) health; temporal relationship; time-lagged analysis.
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