University of Oulu

Dental health, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors—a study among a cohort of young adult population in northern Finland

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Author: Ylöstalo, Pekka1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Dentistry, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
2National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation (CLIGS)
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2008
Publish Date: 2008-02-05
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 1 of the Institute of Dentistry (Aapistie 3), on February 15th, 2008, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Seppo Koskinen
Docent Antti Uutela


To date, most epidemiological studies have shown a weak or moderate association between dental diseases such as periodontal infections, dental caries and tooth loss, and atherosclerotic vascular diseases. However, the nature of this association is not known; it may be due to the biological effect of oral infections on initiation or progress of atherosclerosis or it may be non-causal due to determinants in common, either biological or behavioural. Methodological shortcomings, inconsistent results and a lack of definite proof from intervention studies have led to the conclusion that causality between dental diseases and atherosclerotic vascular diseases has not been established. The aim of this study was to produce evidence on the nature of the association between dental diseases and atherosclerotic vascular diseases.

The study uses data from the 1966 Birth Cohort of Northern Finland (N = 11,637). The data were collected in 1997–1998, when the cohort members had reached 31 years of age. The respondents were asked through a postal questionnaire about their oral health. In addition, respondents were asked about their general health and oral and general health habits. The response rate was 75.3%. Those who lived in Northern Finland or the capital city region were invited to clinical health examination (N = 8,463). Altogether 5,696 subjects supplied the data, representing 67.3% of those who were invited to the clinical examination.

While the study showed an association of self-reported gingivitis, dental caries and tooth loss with the prevalent angina pectoris, it also showed that these self-reported dental diseases were not important determinants for elevated C-reactive protein levels. This suggests that the associations that were found between dental conditions and prevalent angina pectoris are mainly caused by factors other than biological mechanisms related to infection or inflammation. The lack of a biological explanation related to infections or inflammatory processes suggests that other biological mechanisms or biases, including confounding, should be considered as an alternative explanation. However, it must be noted that the possibility that oral infections also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis should not be rejected either.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 978-951-42-8721-3
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8720-6
Issue: 961
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2008. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.