Moderate elevation of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease among apparently healthy individuals, although factors that create this inflammatory response in the absence of systemic illness have not been clarified. This study aimed to: (1) evaluate associations among periodontal disease, established risk factors for elevated CRP, and CRP levels within the US population; and (2) determine whether total tooth loss is associated with reduced CRP. Data were obtained from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A random sample of the US population was interviewed in their homes and examined at mobile examination centers. CRP was quantified from peripheral blood samples and analyzed as a continuous variable and as the prevalence of elevated CRP (≥ 10 mg/L). Some 12,949 people aged 18+ years who had periodontal examinations and an additional 1817 edentulous people aged 18+ years were included in the analysis. Dentate people with extensive periodontal disease (> 10% of sites with periodontal pockets 4+ mm) had an increase of approximately one-third in mean CRP and a doubling in prevalence of elevated CRP compared with periodontally healthy people. Raised CRP levels among people with extensive periodontal disease persisted in multivariate analyses (P < 0.01), with established risk factors for elevated CRP (diabetes, arthritis, emphysema, smoking, and anti-inflammatory medications) and sociodemographic factors controlled for. However, CRP levels were similarly raised in edentulous people. Furthermore, the established risk factors for elevated CRP modified relationships between oral status and CRP levels. Periodontal disease and edentulism were associated with systemic inflammatory response in the US population, most notably among people who had no established risk factors for elevated CRP.
- Inflammatory mediators
- Molecular biology