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The relationship between oral health and COPD exacerbations

Authors Baldomero AK, Siddiqui M, Lo CY, Petersen A, Pragman AA, Connett JE, Kunisaki KM, Wendt CH

Received 17 November 2018

Accepted for publication 22 February 2019

Published 23 April 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 881—892

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S194991

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Arianne K Baldomero,1,2 Mariam Siddiqui,3 Chia-Yin Lo,3,4 Ashley Petersen,5 Alexa A Pragman,6,7 John E Connett,5 Ken M Kunisaki,1,2 Chris H Wendt1,2

1Pulmonary Section, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 2Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 3TMD, Orofacial Pain, and Dental Sleep Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 4Dental Section, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 5Division of Biostatistics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 6Infectious Disease Section, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 7Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Introduction: Poor oral health has been implicated as an independent risk factor for the development of COPD, but few studies have evaluated the association between oral health and COPD exacerbations. We aimed to determine if poor oral health is associated with COPD exacerbations and/or worse respiratory health.
Methods: We performed a case-control study of oral health among COPD exacerbators and non-exacerbators. Cases (exacerbators) had experienced ≥1 exacerbation in the previous 12 months, while controls (non-exacerbators) had no exacerbations in the previous 24 months. We excluded those with <4 teeth. We evaluated the global oral health assessment, Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-5), dental symptoms/habits, and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). In a subset, we performed blinded dental exams to measure bleeding on probing, probing depth, clinical attachment loss, periodontitis severity, plaque index, gingival index, and carries risk. We evaluated associations between oral health and COPD exacerbations using logistic regression. Linear regression was used to assess relationships between oral health and SGRQ scores.
Results: Screened non-exacerbators (n=118) were significantly more likely to have <4 teeth, compared to screened exacerbators (n=100) (44% vs 30%, respectively; p=0.046). After excluding those with <4 teeth, there were 70 cases and 66 controls. Self-reported oral health and objective dental exam measures did not vary significantly between cases vs controls. However, the odds of severe COPD exacerbations requiring hospitalizations and/or emergency department visits trended higher in those with worse dental exam compared to those with better dental exam. Worse OHIP-5 was strongly associated with worse SGRQ scores.
Conclusions: Oral health status was not related to COPD exacerbations, but was associated with self-reported respiratory health. Non-exacerbators were more likely to be edentate or have ≤4 teeth compared to exacerbators. Larger studies are needed to address oral health as a potential method to improve respiratory health in patients with COPD.

Keywords: pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive, oral health, periodontitis

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