The association between alveolar bone loss and pulmonary function: the VA Dental Longitudinal Study

Ann Periodontol. 1998 Jul;3(1):257-61. doi: 10.1902/annals.1998.3.1.257.


The effect of oral conditions on medical outcomes is not well understood. The purpose of this epidemiological investigation was to examine whether the risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is enhanced among individuals with a history of periodontal disease as assessed by radiographic alveolar bone loss (ABL). Subjects were selected from the VA Dental Longitudinal Study, a long-term study of aging and health in male veterans who were medically healthy at baseline. Subjects are not VA patients. Those subjects with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) less than 65% of predicted volume were categorized as having COPD. ABL was assessed by using full-mouth series periapical films measured by a Schei ruler. Bone loss at each interproximal site was measured in 20% increments, and the mean whole-mouth bone loss score was calculated. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the independent contribution of bone loss measurement at baseline to the subsequent risk of developing COPD over a 25-year follow-up period. Covariates included measures of smoking, height, age, education, and alcohol consumption. Of the 1,118 medically healthy dentate men at baseline, 261 subsequently developed COPD. We found that ABL status at baseline was an independent risk factor for COPD, with subjects in the worst population quintile of bone loss (mean ABL > 20% per site) found to be at significantly higher risk (OR = 1.8; 95% CI = 1.3, 2.5). The results of this analysis indicate that increased ABL is associated with an increased risk for COPD

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alveolar Bone Loss / complications*
  • Alveolar Bone Loss / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dental Health Surveys
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / etiology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans