The global burden of periodontal disease: towards integration with chronic disease prevention and control

Periodontol 2000. 2012 Oct;60(1):15-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0757.2011.00425.x.


Chronic diseases are accelerating globally, advancing across all regions and pervading all socioeconomic classes. Unhealthy diet and poor nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use, excessive use of alcohol and psychosocial stress are the most important risk factors. Periodontal disease is a component of the global burden of chronic disease, and chronic disease and periodontal disease have the same essential risk factors. In addition, severe periodontal disease is related to poor oral hygiene and to poor general health (e.g. the presence of diabetes mellitus and other systemic diseases). The present report highlights the global burden of periodontal disease: the ultimate burden of periodontal disease (tooth loss), as well as signs of periodontal disease, are described from World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiological data. High prevalence rates of complete tooth loss are found in upper middle-income countries, whereas the tooth-loss rates, at the time of writing, are modest for low-income countries. In high-income countries somewhat lower rates for edentulism are found when compared with upper middle-income countries. Around the world, social inequality in tooth loss is profound within countries. The Community Periodontal Index was introduced by the WHO in 1987 for countries to produce periodontal health profiles and to assist countries in the planning and evaluation of intervention programs. Globally, gingival bleeding is the most prevalent sign of disease, whereas the presence of deep periodontal pockets (≥6 mm) varies from 10% to 15% in adult populations. Intercountry and intracountry variations are found in the prevalence of periodontal disease, and these variations relate to socio-environmental conditions, behavioral risk factors, general health status of people (e.g. diabetes and HIV status) and oral health systems. National public health initiatives for the control and prevention of periodontal disease should include oral health promotion and integrated disease-prevention strategies based on common risk-factor approaches. Capacity building of oral health systems must consider the establishment of a financially fair service in periodontal care. Health systems research is needed for the evaluation of population-oriented oral health programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Periodontal Index
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology