Periodontal disease and arteriosclerotic disease are greatly affected by aging. In this study, the association of conventional risk factors and periodontal disease with atherosclerosis was longitudinally examined in Japanese older adults. Subjects in this study were 490 community-dwelling septuagenarians (69–71 years) randomly recruited from the Basic Resident Registry of urban or rural areas in Japan. At the baseline examination, all subjects underwent socioeconomic and medical interviews; medical examinations, including examinations for carotid atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia; and conventional dental examinations, including a tooth count and measurement of probing pocket depth (PPD). After 3 years, 182 septuagenarians who had no atherosclerosis at the baseline examination were registered and received the same examination as at the baseline. In the re-examination conducted 3 years after the baseline survey, 131 (72.0%) of the 182 participants who had no atherosclerosis at the baseline examination were diagnosed with carotid atherosclerosis. Adjusting and analyzing the mutual relationships of the conventional risk factors for atherosclerosis by multiple logistic regression analysis for the 171 septuagenarians with a full set of data, the proportion of teeth with PPD ≥ 4 mm was independently related to the prevalence of atherosclerosis (odds ratio: 1.029, P < 0.022). This longitudinal study of Japanese older adults suggests that periodontal disease is associated with the onset/progression of atherosclerosis. Maintaining a healthy periodontal condition may be an important factor in preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis.
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