Accuracy of self-reported periodontal disease in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study

J Periodontol. 2014 Aug;85(8):1006-18. doi: 10.1902/jop.2013.130488. Epub 2013 Dec 19.


Background: This study examines the accuracy of self-reported periodontal disease in a cohort of older females.

Methods: The study comprised 972 postmenopausal females aged 53 to 83 years who completed baseline (1997 to 2001) and follow-up (2002 to 2006) whole-mouth oral examinations. Examinations included: 1) probing depth, 2) clinical attachment level, and 3) oral radiographs for alveolar crestal height in a study ancillary to the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS) conducted in Buffalo, New York, called the OsteoPerio study. Participants also self-reported any history of diagnosis of periodontal/gum disease on a WHI-OS study-wide questionnaire administered during the time interval between the two OsteoPerio examinations.

Results: Participants reporting diagnosis of periodontal/gum disease on the WHI-OS questionnaire (n = 259; 26.6%) had worse oral hygiene habits, periodontal disease risk factors, and clinical periodontal measures compared with those not reporting periodontal/gum disease. Frequency of reported periodontal/gum disease was 13.5%, 24.7%, and 56.2% across OsteoPerio baseline examination categories of none/mild, moderate, and severe periodontal disease, respectively (trend: P <0.001), defined by criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/American Academy of Periodontology (CDC/AAP). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for reported periodontal disease status were 56.2%, 78.8%, 32.8%, and 90.7%, respectively, when CDC/AAP-defined severe periodontal disease at baseline was the criterion measure (prevalence of 15%) and were 76.0%, 77.4%, 22.0%, and 97.4%, respectively, when tooth loss to periodontitis (prevalence of 7%) was the criterion.

Conclusion: A simple question for self-reported periodontal disease characterizes periodontal disease prevalence with moderate accuracy in postmenopausal females who regularly visit their dentist, particularly in those with more severe disease.

Keywords: Epidemiologic measurements; periodontal diseases; prevalence; reproducibility of results; self report; women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alveolar Bone Loss / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dental Plaque / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data
  • Periodontal Attachment Loss / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Periodontal Pocket / epidemiology
  • Postmenopause
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology
  • Women's Health / statistics & numerical data*