Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 905–911 | Cite as

Evaluation of risk factors for oral infection with potential for spread in a 1-year cohort study

  • Esa FärkkiläEmail author
  • Riina Rautemaa-Richardson
  • Anniina Färkkilä
  • Lotta Grönholm
  • Anneli Lauhio
Original Article



To determine the frequency of oral infection with potential for spread (OIPS) and behavioural risk factors in patients referred to a regional tertiary care-centre for OIPS assessment and clearance.

Materials and methods

A database search of all referrals to the Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases unit of HUH in 2009 was performed. Of the 2807 referrals, 408 were due to a known or suspected OIPS. The electronic patient records of these patients were analysed for patient demographics, lifestyle factors, radiological findings and clinical oral findings. Risk factors for OIPS were analysed using logistic regression and using the significant factors in univariate analyses in the multivariate models.


The mean age of the patients was 58 years. Most patients (n = 270, 66%) were referred due to upcoming cancer or other immunosuppressive therapy. The majority (n = 314, 77%) were diagnosed with one or more OIPS. In univariate analyses, smoking (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.6–6.4; p = 0.0006), male gender (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1–2.8; p = 0.02), excessive alcohol use (OR 3.0, 95% 1.1–7.9; p = 0.03) and irregular dental care (OR 4.8, 95% CI 2.6–8.8; p < 0.0001) were risk factors for OIPS. However, in multivariate analyses, smoking was the only independent risk factor for OIPS (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.2–11.8; p = 0.02).


OIPS are common in patients referred for OIPS clearance, and smoking was identified as an independent behavioural risk factor for them. These findings highlight the burden of disease in this patient group and the importance of smoking cessation encouragement.

Clinical relevance

To identify patients at increased risk of OIPS.


Alcohol Dental clearance Oral diseases Oral infections Smoking 



We thank MSc PhD Emmi Tikkanen for statistical advice.


This article presents independent research supported by grant from Helsinki University Central Hospital, HUS EVO TYH 2014 223. The funder had no role in the design, conduct or data interpretation or writing of this study, but the authors carried out this research independently of the funding bodies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esa Färkkilä
    • 1
    Email author
  • Riina Rautemaa-Richardson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anniina Färkkilä
    • 4
  • Lotta Grönholm
    • 5
  • Anneli Lauhio
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryHelsinki University Hospital and University of HelsinkiHUS, HelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and HealthUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Department of Infectious Diseases, Wythenshawe HospitalManchester University NHS Foundation TrustManchesterUK
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyHelsinki University Hospital and University of HelsinkiHUS, HelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department of OncologyHelsinki University Hospital and University of HelsinkiHUS, HelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Department of Infectious Diseases, Inflammation CenterHelsinki University Hospital and University of HelsinkiHUS, HelsinkiFinland

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