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Periodontal Disease Risk
 
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For Dental/Medical Pros

Are Your Patients at High Risk for Periodontal Disease?

Risk assessment for periodontal disease is an increasingly  important role for dental and medical professionals. While bacteria may initiate disease, each patient’s risk factors determine his or her susceptibility.  Certain factors impact the onset of periodontal disease as well as the rate of progression and severity.

By including an assessment of the following risk indicators in patient evaluations, you can make appropriate clinical decisions in order to not only maintain the oral health of your patients, but also prevent the onset of periodontal disease that contributes to inflammatory disease throughout the body.

Checklist of periodontal disease risk factors

 

Oral factors

 

  Personal or family history of gum disease

  Deficient oral hygiene

  Irregular dental visits

  Biofilm accumulation

  Prevalence of bleeding on probing

  Deep pockets

  Positive papillary bleeding index

  Mouth breathing

  Bruxism

  Iatrogenic dentistry

• such as overhangs and subgingival margins; restorations (fillings, crowns); poor-fitting dental appliances

  Malocclusion, broken teeth or abnormal tooth structure

  Impacted or unerrupted wisdom teeth

Age and health factors

 

  Age

• adults with mild to severe periodontitis: age 30+ – 47%; age 65+ – 70%1

  Smoking

  Obesity

  Stress

  Medications

• such as: steroids, calcium channel blockers, immunosuppression agents, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, anticoagulants, those known to cause dry mouth

  Poor nutrition

• especially deficiencies of iron, folic acid, Vitamin C  and vitamin B complex

  Drug or alcohol abuse

  Hormonal fluctuations related to pregnancy, menopause

  Systemic diseases

• including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, immune system disorders such as HIV

  Blood diseases

• including: hemophilia, leukaemia

 

A 2013 study, Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in Dentistry, found that  high-risk individuals had  better periodontal health outcomes when they visited the dentist twice annually. The study also suggests that individuals with more than one risk factor may need more than twice yearly preventive visits.

Patients should therefore have at least an annual periodontal evaluation with an assessment of these factors to gauge risk for future disease. By identifying those who are most susceptible to periodontal disease and instituting a preventive regime, dental and medical professionals can help to prevent serious periodontal disease and associated systemic complications.