The oral-systemic disease connection: a retrospective study

Bobby K. Joseph, Leif Kullman, Prem Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The study aimed at determining the association between oral disease and systemic health based on panoramic radiographs and general health of patients treated at Kuwait University Dental Center. The objective was to determine whether individuals exhibiting good oral health have lower propensity to systemic diseases. Materials and methods: A total of 1000 adult patients treated at Kuwait University Dental Center were randomly selected from the patient’s records. The general health of patients was assessed from the medical history of each patient recorded during their visit to the clinic. The number of reported diseases and serious symptoms were used to develop a medical index. The oral health of these patients was assessed from panoramic radiographs to create an oral index by evaluating such parameters as caries, periodontitis, periapical lesions, pericoronitis, and tooth loss. Results: In a total of 887 patients, 43.8 % had an oral index between 3 and 8, of which significantly higher (62.1 %) patients were with medical conditions compared to those without (33.2 %; p < 0.001). The Spearmans’s correlation (rho’) revealed a positive correlation (rho’ = 0.360, p 0.001) between oral and medical index. Partial correlation, while controlling demographics, gender, nationality, and age, also showed a significant positive correlation (p < 0.001) between medical and oral index. Conclusions: The findings of this study showed a significant association between oral health and general health and confirmed the findings of previous reports as regards the existing correlation between dental infections and medical disorders. These results are not indicative of a causal relationship when the diagnosis of oral disease was based primarily on radiographic findings. Future research needs to include prospective clinical and interventional studies. Clinical relevance: The significance of the oral-systemic disease connection highlights the importance of preventing and treating oral disease which have profound medical implications on general health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2267-2273
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Caries
  • Medical index
  • Oral health
  • Oral index
  • Systemic diseases


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