People with cirrhosis have a higher risk of death if they have severe gum disease, or periodontitis, MedPage Today reports. This risk is particularly high for death from cirrhosis itself.

Researchers studied 184 people with cirrhosis and assessed their oral health. Forty-four percent had severe periodontitis.

Findings were presented at the 52nd International Liver Congress in Amsterdam.

Those with severe gum disease were more likely to have alcohol as the cause of their cirrhosis, while those without severe gum disease were more likely to have an autoimmune or so-called cholestatic (such as primary biliary cirrhosis) cause for their cirrhosis. Also, those with severe gum disease were more likely to have a history of smoking and less likely never to have smoked than those without severe gum disease.

The researchers followed the study population for an average of 350 days per participant, or a cumulative 74,197 days. Forty-four percent of the participants died during this time.

After adjusting the data for demographic factors, including age, sex, cause of cirrhosis, smoking, alcohol use and other health conditions, the researchers found that severe gum disease was associated with a 1.45-fold increased overall risk of death and 2.29-fold increased risk of death from cirrhosis.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.