A Rapid, Non-invasive Tool for Periodontitis Screening in a Medical Care Setting

Martijn J. L. Verhulst; Wijnand J. Teeuw; Sergio Bizzarro; Joris Muris; Naichuan Su; Elena A. Nicu; Kamran Nazmi; Floris J. Bikker; Bruno G. Loos


BMC Oral Health. 2019;19(87) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Since periodontitis is bi-directionally associated with several systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases, it is important for medical professionals in a non-dental setting to be able examine their patients for symptoms of periodontitis, and urge them to visit a dentist if necessary. However, they often lack the time, knowledge and resources to do so. We aim to develop and assess "quick and easy" screening tools for periodontitis, based on self-reported oral health (SROH), demographics and/or salivary biomarkers, intended for use by medical professionals in a non-dental setting.

Methods: Consecutive, new patients from our outpatient clinic were recruited. A SROH questionnaire (8 questions) was conducted, followed by a 30 s oral rinse sampling protocol. A complete clinical periodontal examination provided the golden standard periodontitis classification: no/mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. Total periodontitis was defined as having either moderate or severe. Albumin and matrix metalloproteinase-8 concentrations, and chitinase and protease activities were measured in the oral rinses. Binary logistic regression analyses with backward elimination were used to create prediction models for both total and severe periodontitis. Model 1 included SROH, demographics and biomarkers. The biomarkers were omitted in the analysis for model 2, while model 3 only included the SROH questionnaire. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCC) provided the accuracy of each model. The regression equations were used to create scoring algorithms, composed of the remaining predictors, each with its own weight.

Results: Of the 156 patients participating in this study, 67% were classified with total periodontitis and 33% had severe periodontitis. The models for total periodontitis achieved an AUROCC of 0.91 for model 1, 0.88 for model 2 and 0.81 for model 3. For severe periodontitis, this was 0.89 for model 1, 0.82 for model 2 and 0.78 for model 3. The algorithm for total periodontitis (model 2), which we consider valid for the Dutch population, was applied to create a freely accessible, web-based screening tool.

Conclusions: The prediction models for total and severe periodontitis proved to be feasible and accurate, resulting in easily applicable screening tools, intended for a non-dental setting.