Patterns of site-level periodontal disease and within-mouth correlation among older adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2022 Aug 29. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12789. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Clinical measures of periodontal disease such as attachment loss (CAL) and probing depth (PD) vary considerably between and within individuals with periodontitis and are known to be influenced by person-level factors (e.g. age and race/ethnicity) as well as intraoral characteristics (e.g. tooth type and location). This study sought to characterize site-level disease patterns and correlations using both person-level and intraoral factors through a model-based approach.

Methods: This study used full-mouth, six sites per tooth, periodontal examination data collected from 2301 Hispanic/Latino adults aged 60-74 years in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). The presence of site-level CAL ≥3 mm and PD ≥4 mm was estimated using generalized estimating equations (GEE), explicitly modelling pairwise periodontal site correlations, while adjusting for number of teeth, sex and Hispanic/Latino background. Subsequently tooth- and tooth-site patterns of intraoral CAL ≥3 mm and PD ≥4 mm were estimated and visualized in the HCHS/SOL population.

Results: The findings showed that posterior sites had the highest odds of CAL ≥3 mm and PD ≥4 mm. Sites located in the interproximal space had higher odds of PD ≥4 mm but lower odds of CAL ≥3 mm than non-interproximal sites. Mexicans had the lowest odds of CAL ≥3 mm among all Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. While Mexicans had lower odds of PD ≥4 mm than Central Americans and Cubans, they had higher odds than Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. Site-level proportions and pairwise correlations of PD ≥4 mm were generally smaller than those of CAL ≥3 mm.

Conclusions: The patterns of site-level probabilities of clinical measures of periodontal disease can be defined based on tooth, site and individual-level characteristics. Intraoral correlation patterns, while complex, are quantifiable. The risk factors for site-level CAL ≥3 mm may differ from those of PD ≥4 mm. Likewise, participant risk factors for site-level clinical measures of periodontal disease are distinct from those that affect individual-level periodontitis prevalence. Future epidemiological investigations should consider model-based approaches when examining site-level disease probabilities to identify intra-oral patterns of periodontal disease and make inferences about the larger population.

Keywords: generalized estimating equations; intraoral correlation; periodontal disease; statistical methodology.