Relationship between alexithymia and chronic periodontitis
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the potential relationship between alexithymia and chronic periodontitis.
Materials and Methods: A case– control study of 222 male and female subjects aged 21–63 years was conducted. The participants were divided into a chronic periodontitis group (n = 114) and a control group (n = 108) with no history of periodontitis. The Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS‑20) was used to evaluate alexithymia status of the subjects. Clinical data were collected on parameters such as the plaque index, bleeding on probing, probing depth, and the clinical attachment level (CAL). Socioeconomic data on the patients were also recorded.
Results: Chronic periodontitis group showed higher frequency in alexithymic patients as compared to control group. The proportion of high dental anxiety did not differ between the groups. The total TAS‑20 score was statistically significantly higher in male subjects than in female subjects (P < 0.05). The bivariate analyses of the psychometric measures and the periodontal parameters revealed positive correlations with the severity of periodontal disease/ CAL and the total TAS‑20 score (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The results of the current study suggest that alexithymia is a possible risk factor for chronic periodontitis. Further research is needed to identify the underlying mechanism.
Keywords: Alexithymia, clinical attachment loss, periodontitis