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.