1 Adams School of Dentistry, University North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
2 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
The US prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is 30.6% and increasing. NAFLD shares some risk factors with periodontitis and dental caries. We explored the association between NAFLD and several oral conditions among US adults, using data from the cross-sectional, nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1988 to 1994. NAFLD was assessed with ultrasonography (USON), the screening gold standard not available in the more recent NHANES, and the noninvasive Fibrosis Score (FS), Fatty Liver Index (FLI), and US Fatty Liver Index (US-FLI) as other screening alternatives. There were 5,421 eligible dentate adults aged 21 to 74 y with complete relevant data, with transferrin levels ≤50%, without hepatitis B or C, who were not heavy drinkers. Multivariable models were developed to examine the independent effects of moderate-severe periodontitis, untreated dental caries, caries experience, and tooth loss (<20 teeth) on NAFLD while controlling for clinical, biological, and sociodemographic factors. Weighted estimates for odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were calculated with logistic regression. Between 17% and 24% of adults had NAFLD depending on the classification criteria. In adjusted models, as compared with those with better oral health, adults with <20 teeth were more likely to have NAFLD depending on the measure (USON: OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.02; FS: OR = 4.36, 95% CI = 3.47 to 5.49; FLI: OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.52 to 2.59; US-FLI: OR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1.79 to 3.01). People with moderate-severe periodontitis were more likely to have NAFLD (USON: OR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.06 to 2.24; FS: OR = 3.10, 95% CI = 2.31 to 4.17; FLI: OR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.13 to 2.28; US-FLI: OR = 2.21, 95% CI = 1.64 to 2.98). People with any untreated caries were more likely to have NAFLD (USON: OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.20 to 1.90; FLI: OR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.33 to 2.44). NAFLD was associated with tooth loss, periodontitis, and, for some NAFLDmeasures, untreated dental caries but not overall caries experience after controlling for several key sociodemographic and behavioral factors. Results suggest that further evaluation is needed to better understand this health-oral health interrelationship and potential opportunities for medical-dental integration.