Periodontitis is associated with decreased experimental pressure pain tolerance: The Tromsø Study 2015-2016

J Clin Periodontol. 2024 Mar 1. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.13968. Online ahead of print.


Aim: To assess the relationship between periodontitis and experimental pain tolerance.

Materials and methods: Participants from the population-based seventh survey of the Tromsø Study with data on periodontitis were included (n = 3666, 40-84 years old, 51.6% women). Pain tolerance was assessed through (i) pressure pain tolerance (PPT) test with a computerized cuff pressure algometry on the leg, and (ii) cold-pressor tolerance (CPT) test where one hand was placed in circulating 3°C water. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to assess the association between periodontitis and pain tolerance adjusted for age, sex, education, smoking and obesity.

Results: In the fully adjusted model using the 2012 Centers for Disease Control/American Academy of Periodntology case definitions for surveillance of periodontitis, moderate (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 1.18) and severe (HR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.42) periodontitis were associated with decreased PPT. Using the 2018 classification of periodontitis, having Stage II/III/IV periodontitis was significantly associated with decreased PPT (HR = 1.09; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.18) compared with having no or stage I periodontitis. There were no significant associations between periodontitis and CPT in fully adjusted models.

Conclusions: Moderate and severe periodontitis was associated with experimental PPT.

Keywords: cold-pressor test; experimental pain tolerance; inflammation; periodontitis; pressure pain test.