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Perio treatment needs to 'get personal'

A new study in Journal of Dental Research provides new understandings into the prevention of periodontitis (gum disease) through genetic testing

The research demonstrates significant improvement in the delivery of personalised, preventive dental care.

The study, entitled ‘Patient Stratification for Preventive Dental Care’, explored the influence of three key risk factors – smoking, diabetes and genetics – on tooth loss. By examining claims data from 5,117 patients without periodontitis throughout a 16-year period and conducting genetic testing, researchers determined that patients with genetic variations of the IL-1 genotype were at increased risk for tooth loss, therefore requiring more preventive dental care.

Dr Kenneth Kornman, chief executive officer of Interleukin Genetics, said: ‘Dentistry has long been a leader in the delivery of preventive healthcare to patients. The findings of this study provide dental clinicians with the opportunity to offer personalised, preventive care that is based on new insights into the importance of genetic risk factors.’

Periodontitis currently affects 47% of the adult population. The significance of these findings could greatly reduce and prevent a disease that is extremely widespread, costly and preventable.

Periodontist Donald S Clem, on the American Board of Periodontology, said: ‘Historically, we have lacked the prognostic tools to effectively identify patients at greatest risk for periodontitis. This study underscores the need to adopt a genetic, risk-based approach and gives patients a compelling new reason to visit the dentist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation.’

The study ‘Patient stratification for preventive dental care’ can be accessed online.

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