Reported gum disease as a cardiovascular risk factor in adults with intellectual disabilities

Hsieh, K., Murthy, S., Heller, T., Rimmer, J., Yen, G. (2017). Reported gum disease as a cardiovascular risk factor in adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, DOI: 10.1111/jir.12438



Several risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) have been identified among adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). Periodontitis has been reported to increase the risk of developing a CVD in the general population. Given that individuals with ID have been reported to have a higher prevalence of poor oral health than the general population, the purpose of this study was to determine whether adults with ID with informant reported gum disease present greater reported CVD than those who do not have reported gum disease and whether gum disease can be considered a risk factor for CVD.


Using baseline data from the Longitudinal Health and Intellectual Disability Study from which informant survey data were collected, 128 participants with reported gum disease and 1252 subjects without reported gum disease were identified. A series of univariate logistic regressions was conducted to identify potential confounding factors for a multiple logistic regression.


The series of univariate logistic regressions identified age, Down syndrome, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, reported gum disease, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables and the addition of table salt as significant risk factors for reported CVD. When the significant factors from the univariate logistic regression were included in the multiple logistic analysis, reported gum disease remained as an independent risk factor for reported CVD after adjusting for the remaining risk factors. Compared with the adults with ID without reported gum disease, adults in the gum disease group demonstrated a significantly higher prevalence of reported CVD (19.5% vs. 9.7%; P = .001).


After controlling for other risk factors, reported gum disease among adults with ID may be associated with a higher risk of CVD. However, further research that also includes clinical indices of periodontal disease and CVD for this population is needed to determine if there is a causal relationship between gum disease and CVD.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: