A public health approach for prevention of periodontal disease

Periodontol 2000. 2020 Oct;84(1):202-214. doi: 10.1111/prd.12337.


Upwards of 1 in 10 adults worldwide may be affected by severe periodontitis, making the disease more prevalent than cardiovascular disease. Despite its global scope, its impact on pain, oral function, and the wellbeing of individuals, and the disproportionate burden of disease and the socioeconomic impact on communities, the perception that periodontal disease is a public health problem remains low. Although there have been substantial improvements in our understanding of the etiology of periodontal disease and how we can prevent and control it, these advances have been primarily focused on individual, patient-focused approaches. The prevention of periodontal disease depends on improving currently available individual interventions and on determining what public health interventions can be effective and sustainable under real-life conditions. Currently, public health approaches for periodontal disease prevention and control are lacking. This review traces the historical strategies for prevention of periodontal disease in an epidemiologic transition context, using a modified model developed for cardiovascular disease, and presents a possible public health approach. Improving periodontal disease prevention and control will need to take into consideration the core activities of a public health approach: assessment, policy development, and assurance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Periodontitis / epidemiology*
  • Periodontitis / prevention & control*
  • Public Health