Dental caries are positively associated with periodontal disease severity



To examine associations between periodontal disease severity and clinical and microbiological measures of caries in adults.

Materials and methods

A cross-sectional study of 94 healthy adults ((mean ± SD) 55.4 ± 13.0 years) was conducted. Data were collected by means of questionnaire and a clinical examination that included the Decayed, Missing, Filled teeth Surfaces (DMFS) index, probing depth (PD), clinical attachment level (CAL), and gingival bleeding and plaque scores. Supra- and subgingival plaque samples were collected to assess the presence of Streptococcus mutans and six periodontal pathogens. Participants were subsequently categorized using Center for Disease Control and Prevention/American Academy of Periodontology (CDC-AAP) definitions and tertiles of percentage of sites with CAL ≥ 3mm.


Significant positive associations were found between the periodontal disease severity (CDC-AAP) and the DMFS (aOR = 1.03; 95% CI 1.01–1.05) and DS indices (aOR = 1.18; 95% CI 1.05–1.32) as well as between the tertiles of percentage of sites with CAL ≥ 3 mm and DMFS (aOR = 1.03; 95% CI 1.00–1.05) and DS indices (aOR = 1.12; 95% CI 1.00–1.25). A significant positive association was also found between oral levels of F. nucleatum and S. mutans (aOR = 6.03; 95% CI 1.55–23.45).


A small but positive association was found between clinical measures of caries and periodontal disease severity. Further research is warranted to examine the association between these two common oral diseases.

Clinical relevance

Periodontal diseases and caries are the two most common oral diseases. There was a positive association between clinical and microbiological markers of both diseases. Therefore, strategies in oral health education should involve both caries and periodontitis prevention.

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The authors wish to express their gratitude to Ms. Chantal Morand for her assistance in recruiting the participants, Dr. Jean Barbeau for his logistical support and expertise, and Ms. Annie Leduc and Mr. Jabrane Azelmat for their training and assistance with the microbiological assessments in the laboratory. They would also like to thank Drs. Véronique Benhamou and Paul Allison for their support in recruiting participants at the McGill University dental clinics.


This study was supported by the Ernest-Charron research fund of the Faculty of Dental Medicine at the Université de Montréal.

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Correspondence to Robert Durand.

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Durand, R., Roufegarinejad, A., Chandad, F. et al. Dental caries are positively associated with periodontal disease severity. Clin Oral Invest 23, 3811–3819 (2019).

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  • Periodontal disease
  • Caries
  • Bacteria
  • Microbiology