Chronic Gingivitis Tied to Increased Risk of Subsequent Depression

Sarfaroj Khan 


April 19, 2021


  • Chronic gingivitis was significantly associated with an increased risk of subsequent depression.

Why this matters

  • Although there is evidence regarding the negative impact of depression on oral health, very little is known about the reverse association.

Study design

  • The study included patients (age, ≥14 years) who had received an initial diagnosis of chronic gingivitis across 256 UK general practices (2000-2016).

  • 6544 patients with chronic gingivitis were matched (1:1) to individuals without chronic gingivitis.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • After 10 years of follow-up, 16.3% of patients with chronic gingivitis and 8.8% of those without were diagnosed with depression (log-rank P<.001).

  • Chronic gingivitis was positively and significantly associated with an increased risk of depression (HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.58-2.08; P<.001).

  • This association remained significant in both men (HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.55-2.48; P<.001) and women (HR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.47-2.06; P<.001).

  • The strength of the association varied across different age groups:

    • 14-20 years (HR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.07-1.94; P=.016);

    • 36-50 years (HR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.52-2.75; P<.001); and

    • 51-65 years (HR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.18-2.71; P=.006).

  • The association between chronic gingivitis and depression was not statistically significant in patients aged >65 years (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.91-2.18; P=.122).


  • Being a dental condition, chronic gingivitis may have been underdiagnosed by general practitioners.


Cirkel LL, Jacob L, Smith L, López-Sánchez GF, Konrad M, Kostev K. Relationship between chronic gingivitis and subsequent depression in 13,088 patients followed in general practices. J Psychiatr Res. 2021 Mar 31 [Epub ahead of print];138:103-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.03.059. PMID: 33839578.  View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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