Background: Periodontitis has been associated with a number of systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart diseases, and respiratory diseases. This study aimed to determine whether there is a significant difference in the prevalence of systemic diseases (a) in patients referred for periodontal care compared to the general practice population, (b) in patients attending a public hospital and private practices, (c) in patients attending public and private periodontal practices, and (d) among patients with periodontitis of varying severity.
Methods: Charts of 1000 adult patients were selected from four clinics (University of Queensland (UQ) School of Dentistry Admissions Clinic, UQ School of Dentistry Periodontics Clinic, Private Periodontal Practice, and Private General Dental Practice). The prevalence of medical conditions was evaluated using validated self-reported health questionnaires. The periodontal condition was assessed from the most recent relevant radiographs in the files.
Results: Periodontal patients had a higher prevalence of systemic diseases compared to the general practice population. Public patients had a greater prevalence of systemic diseases compared to patients in private practice for both general practice and periodontal patients. In patients with advanced periodontitis, bronchitis, hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis were most prevalent. Patients with periodontitis also took more medications and were more likely to suffer from multiple conditions compared to the general dental population.
Conclusions: Patients attending public dental facilities have an increased prevalence of systemic disease compared to those attending private practices. Furthermore periodontal patients have a greater prevalence of diseases compared to general practice patients. Patients with moderate or advanced periodontitis show an increase in the prevalence of some systemic diseases previously reported to be risk factors for periodontal disease.