Wisdom teeth, periodontal disease, and C-reactive protein in US adults

Y. Zhang, S. G. Leveille, J. Edward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: The study aim was to evaluate the associations among the presence of wisdom teeth (third molars, M3), periodontal disease, and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) in the US adult population, thus to generate population-based evidence to inform heart disease prevention and dental care. Study design: We performed secondary data analysis of the 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and included 3752 people aged 30 years and older who participated in the periodontal examination. Methods: Descriptive analyses were performed to determine the prevalence of M3 presence, periodontal disease, and elevated CRP. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to determine the association between M3 presence, periodontal disease, and elevated CRP. Results: The prevalence of M3 presence, periodontal disease (probing periodontal pockets depth (PPD)≥ 4 mm), and elevated serum C-reactive protein level (≥5 mg/L) was 39%, 41%, and 19% respectively. M3 presence was highest among men, younger adults, Blacks and Hispanics compared to Non-Hispanic Whites, those who did not attend college, and people with low incomes (P < 0.001). M3 presence, adjusted for sociodemographic and health characteristics, was independently associated with periodontal disease (adjusted [Adj.] odds ratio [OR] 1.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.31, 1.97), and periodontal disease was independently associated with elevated serum CRP (Adj. OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.06, 1.73), but we did not find M3 presence associated with elevated serum CRP (Adj. OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.79, 1.31). Conclusions: We observed expected associations between M3 presence and periodontal disease, and periodontal disease and elevated CRP. However, M3 presence alone is not associated with elevated CRP. Further research into cardiovascular health hazards related to the retention of wisdom teeth is needed, including examining possible relationships with other inflammatory factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Royal Society for Public Health


  • C-reactive protein
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Wisdom teeth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Wisdom teeth, periodontal disease, and C-reactive protein in US adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this