Most studies linking obesity and periodontal disease have been cross-sectional in design. We examined whether gains in body weight, waist circumference, and arm fat area are associated with periodontitis progression in 893 non-diabetic men followed for up to four decades in the prospective VA Dental Longitudinal Study. Probing pocket depth (PPD) was measured by calibrated examiners. Repeated-measures generalized linear models estimated the mean cumulative numbers of teeth with PPD events (PPD > 3 mm) at each dental examination and the slopes associated with increasing numbers of affected teeth over time. Means were adjusted for baseline PPD, education, and cigarette pack-years, and time-dependent values of age, mean plaque score, cigarette packs/day, brushing, and flossing. Men who were overweight at baseline and gained weight most rapidly (> 0.19 kg/yr or ∼15 lb during follow-up) had significantly more PPD events than men in the lowest tertile of weight gain (≥ -0.05 kg/yr). Overweight men whose waist circumference increased > 0.14-0.39 or > 0.39 cm/yr experienced more PPD events than men in the lowest tertile (≥ 0.14 cm/yr). Increase in arm fat area was associated with disease progression in normal-weight men. These results suggest that tracking adiposity changes with easily obtained anthropometric measures may help predict risk of periodontitis progression.
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