Addressing oral health inequalities – periodontal disease and its classification

The objective of this short article is to give some oversight of the current work happening to deliver a consistent global guidance on prevention, treatment and diagnosis of periodontal disease, and share what GSK is doing to support dental professionals as they work to deliver prevention led care and treatment to their patients every day.


In 2018 it is estimated that oral diseases affect half of the world’s population, around 3.5 billion people. During this study, severe periodontal disease was estimated to be the 11th most prevalent disease globally. Poor oral hygiene and tobacco use are the key causative factors according to (2018).

Monitoring and measuring periodontal disease

In 2017 a survey carried out by FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) (, 2017) of 61 national dental associations worldwide showed almost 60% do not have a national monitoring or evaluation plan for periodontal disease, and that there were no globally accepted periodontal health information resources.

Experts work to address the need for globally accepted resources

Further to the needs identified, there has been much work done to address the resource and knowledge gaps and several publications launched, by different expert groups.

Further to a series of periodontal workshops, an expert task force from the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the Academy of Periodontology (AAP), published an open access 367-page supplement on the classification of periodontal and peri-implant disease (onlinelibrary., 2018). This was launched in June 2018 at Europerio 9 in Amsterdam.

The expert task team from FDI’s Global Periodontal Health Project (GPHP), produced a white paper (Herrera et al, 2017) for oral health professionals as well as a practical advocacy toolkit (, 2018) for use by national dental associations to help affect policy change at a country level. All this work led to the development in 2018, of a chairside guide that helps general dental practitioners with patient risk assessment (, 2018).

All these fantastic achievements will aid the measuring and monitoring of the status of periodontal disease at a global level. It will also help build the case as to why governments need to prioritise periodontal health and put it on their policy agendas.

What does that mean for me?

What does this all mean for the general dental practitioner and hygienist and therapist clinician who work on the prevention and treatment of this disease day to day? It is a lot of research to review, and the British Society of Periodontology (BSP) is working on a consensus document for practical implementation (, 2018). They have also provided four webinars to explain the classification and its meaning, which will be available online. A summary article was also recently published in the British Dental Journal.

GSK has worked with Jason Wong, a general dentist in the UK with a passion for dental education and prevention, to start to offer some simple graphic led information, formed using all this new research and guidance, to support your clinical work and your patient education.

Let us know what you think and what else would be helpful to you. If you find it useful, we will be rolling out further materials, via social media and here on the portal, to help you treat and manage periodontal disease as well as create awareness about the devastating progression of periodontal disease and how it can be prevented.


Herrera D, Meyle J, Renvert S and Jin L (2017) White Paper on Prevention and Management of Periodontal Diseases for Oral Health and General Health Online access:

onlinelibrary. (2018) accessed 5/2/2019 (2018) accessed 5/2/2019 (2017) accessed 5/2/2019 (2018) accessed 5/2/2019 (2018) accessed 5/2/2019 (2018) accessed 5/2/2019

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