Whereas most of studies investigating relationship between oral health and atherosclerosis have focused on periodontitis, very few of them were examined about occlusal status of natural teeth which possibly influence dietary habit. The primary aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the association between the occlusal support of posterior teeth and the prevalence of atherosclerosis in community-dwelling septuagenarians. Also, the second aim was to test the hypothesis that the intake of key nutrients for atherosclerosis prevention would have a mediating effect on the relationship between the occlusal status and atherosclerosis. The study population included 468 community-dwelling dentate persons aged 69–71 years recruited from the local residential registration in Japan. Participants were divided into three groups, according to the number of occlusal support zones (OSZ) in the posterior area: Complete (four OSZ), Moderate (three or two OSZ), and Collapsed (one or no OSZ). Dietary intakes were assessed using a brief-type self-administered diet history questionnaire. Atherosclerosis was defined as carotid intima-media thickness ≧1.10 mm by using carotid ultrasonography test. The logistic or linear regression model was used in multivariate analysis to assess relationship between occlusal status and atherosclerosis, and the mediating effect of key nutrients within the relationship. Multivariable analysis showed a significant association between occlusal status and atherosclerosis (odds ratio for Collapsed group to Complete group: 1.87; 95% CI: 1.45–2.41), independent of periodontal status (odds ratio: 2.01, 95%CI: 1.46–2.78). Fish and shellfish, vitamin B6 and n-3PUFAs were significantly related to both of occlusal status and atherosclerosis, and also was indicated a mediating effect on the association between occlusal status and atherosclerosis. This study implied that, within the limitation of the cross-sectional study design, the reduced posterior occlusion was related to the increased prevalence of atherosclerosis via the decline of key dietary intakes among Japanese community-dwelling dentate individuals.
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