Background and objectives The association between periodontal disease and carotid atherosclerosis has been evaluated primarily in single-center studies, and whether periodontal disease is an independent risk factor of carotid atherosclerosis remains uncertain. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the association between periodontal disease and carotid atherosclerosis. Methods We searched PubMed and Embase for relevant observational studies up to February 20, 2015. Two authors independently extracted data from included studies, and odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for overall and subgroup meta-analyses. Statistical heterogeneity was assessed by the chi-squared test (P < 0.1 for statistical significance) and quantified by the I2statistic. Data analysis was conducted using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA) software. Results Fifteen observational studies involving 17,330 participants were included in the meta-analysis. The overall pooled result showed that periodontal disease was associated with carotid atherosclerosis (OR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.14-1.41; P < 0.001) but statistical heterogeneity was substantial (I2= 78.90%). Subgroup analysis of adjusted smoking and diabetes mellitus showed borderline significance (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.00-1.18; P = 0.05). Sensitivity and cumulative analyses both indicated that our results were robust. Conclusions Findings of our meta-analysis indicated that the presence of periodontal disease was associated with carotid atherosclerosis; however, further large-scale, well-conducted clinical studies are needed to explore the precise risk of developing carotid atherosclerosis in patients with periodontal disease.
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