The association between the periodontal diagnosis and a variety of subject characteristics was studied in a group of 1,783 patients examined at a large military dental clinic. In order of importance, age greater than 30, smoking, male sex, and Filipino racial background were all found to be statistically significant risk indicators for the presence of moderate or advanced periodontitis. A logistic regression equation serving as a predictive model employing these four variables was presented. The strong association found between smoking and advanced periodontitis is consistent with the hypothesis that smoking has cumulative detrimental effects on periodontal health. While these and other risk indicators are neither causative, diagnostic, nor prognostic, they may be helpful in alerting the clinician to more carefully evaluate other clinical signs or laboratory findings of disease.