Elevated Coronary Artery Calcium scores are associated with tooth loss

H. C. M. Donders*, L. M. IJzerman, M. Soffner, A. W. J. van't Hof, B. G. Loos, J. de Lange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Aim This study explores the association between Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) scores and dental pathology such as missing teeth, the (peri-apical) health status and restoration grade of the teeth, and the grade of alveolar bone loss seen on a dental panoramic radiograph (Orthopantomograph-OPG).

Materials and methods In this retrospective cross-sectional study, data was collected from three hospitals spread in the Netherlands. Patients were included when a CAC score and an OPG were available, both recorded within a maximum period of 365 days from 2009-2017. The CAC score was measured on a CT scan, using the Agatston method. To assess dental pathology, the number of missing teeth, the number of dental implants, alveolar bone loss, caries, endodontic treatments, peri-apical radiolucencies, bone loss at implants, impacted teeth and dental cysts, were determined on the OPG. All observers were calibrated. The electronic health records provided information about: gender, age, smoking, Diabetes Mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and Body Mass Index (BMI).

Results 212 patients were included. We found a statistically significant association between the number of missing teeth and the CAC score. When modeling age, sex, and other well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the significant correlation was no longer present after multivariate correction. Furthermore, the results showed a trend for more teeth with peri-apical lesions and a higher percentage of mean alveolar bone loss in the group with the highest CAC scores.

Conclusion This study showed that being edentulous or missing teeth is correlated to higher CAC scores however failed to be an independent predictor of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. The number of (missing) teeth is an easily accessible marker and could be used as a marker for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD) risk by almost any healthcare worker. The current study needs to be considered as an explorative pilot study and could contribute to the design of further (prospective) studies on the relationship between dental pathology and coronary artery calcification by adding clinical information and extra cardiovascular biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0243232
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020


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