Purpose: A growing body of evidence supports an association between coronary heart disease (CHD) and dental diseases, particularly periodontitis (PD). The present study was designed to assess the relationship between childhood dental care and adult CHD in a single community dental clinic.
Materials and Methods: Consecutive patients (n = 223) at a single urban U.S. dental clinic were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the details of their childhood and present dental care as well as CHD and PD diagnoses.
Results: A significantly greater proportion of patients who reported a lack of prophylactic dental care in childhood also reported a present diagnosis of CHD (54.2% vs 23.6%, P < 0.001). In a multivariate logistic regression model including the traditional CHD risk factors of smoking, family history, age and sex, the relationship between dental care in childhood and reduced CHD remained significant (OR = 0.318, 95% CI = 0.159-0.635, P = 0.001). This association cannot be explained wholly by a mechanism involving the development of PD in patients with poor childhood dental care, as PD was not significantly associated with CHD in the multivariate model (OR = 1.646, 95% CI = 0.836-3.239, P = 0.149).
Conclusions: In our single dental clinic assessment, adequate childhood professional dental prophylactic care was associated with reduced CHD in adulthood, an association independent of traditional risk factors. Further studies are required to better define the magnitude of this association.
Keywords: coronary heart disease, dental prophylaxis, periodontitis