Periodontal Risk Assessment

How healthy are you? Your overall health may be linked to the health of your gums and teeth.

The following information will help you assess your gum disease risk. Add up the numbers in ( ) that correspond to your answers. Add all points together and check your score against scores at the bottom of the page. It does not take the place of information from your dental professional. For more information talk with your dentist or Dr. Bonner.

  1. How old are you?

    Your chances of developing periodontal disease increase considerably as you get older. Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease and need to do more to maintain good oral health. <40 (0) 40-65 (1) >65 (2)

  2. Do you have heart disease?

    Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. No (0) Yes (1)

  3. Have you ever had a stroke or TIA?

    Studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. No (0) Yes (1)

  4. Are you at risk for osteoporosis or have you been diagnosed with it?

    Osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone supporting the teeth may be decreased. No (0) Yes (1)

  5. Are you diabetic?

    Diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications. No (0) Yes (1)

  6. Are you prone to respiratory conditions?

    Bacteria in your mouth can be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with gum disease. No (0) Yes (1)

  7. Have you ever had cancer?

    Gum disease has been linked to some forms of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. The cause is not completely known but the systemic inflammation associated with gum disease may stimulate growth of certain cancer cells. Another theory is those with gum disease have more bacteria and carcinogens in their mouth. No (0) Yes (1)

  8. Have you been under higher than normal or constant stress?

    Studies have shown a positive relationship between periodontal diseases and psychological factors such as stress, distress, anxiety, depression and loneliness. The cause may be the hormone cortisol, greater use of alcohol and tobacco products, weakened immune system or greater amount of grinding or clenching the teeth, which can accelerate bone disease. No (0) Yes (1)

  9. Do your gums ever bleed?

    Gum disease often has no symptoms at all, however, bleeding gums can be one of the signs of gum disease. Think of gum tissue as the skin on your hand. If your hands bled every time you washed them, you would know something was wrong. Interestingly, if you are a smoker, your gums may not bleed.
    No (0) Yes (1)

  10. Do you smoke or use tobacco products?

    Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to have calculus form on their teeth, have deeper pockets between the teeth and gums, and lose more of the bone and tissue that support the teeth. No (0) Yes(1)

  11. Have you seen a dentist in the last two years?

    Daily brushing and flossing will help keep calculus formation to a minimum, but it won’t completely prevent it. A professional dental cleaning at least twice a year is necessary to remove calculus from places your toothbrush and floss may have missed. Yes (0) No (2) Don’t Know (1)

  12. How often do you floss?

    Studies demonstrate that including flossing as part of your oral care routine can actually help reduce the amount of gum disease-causing bacteria found in the mouth, therefore contributing to healthy teeth and gums. Daily (0) Weekly (1) Seldom (2)

  13. Have you ever been told that you have gum problems, gum infection or gum inflammation?

    Over the past decade, research has focused on the role chronic inflammation may play in various diseases, including periodontal, or gum, disease. Data suggests having a history of periodontal disease makes you six-times more likely to have future periodontal problems. Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. If you answered no, score 0 points. If yes, you should talk to your dentist about regular periodontal exams.

  14. Have any of your family members had gum disease?

    Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member. Also, research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. If you answered no, score 0 points. If yes, you should talk to your dentist about regular periodontal exams.

  15. Have you had any adult teeth extracted due to gum disease?

    The more recent your loss of a tooth due to gum disease, the greater the risk of losing more teeth from the disease. Wisdom teeth, teeth pulled for orthodontic therapy or teeth pulled because of fracture or trauma may not contribute to increased risk for periodontal disease. If you answered no, score 0 points. If yes, you should talk to your dentist about regular periodontal exams.

  16. Are your teeth loose?

    Periodontal disease is a serious inflammatory disease that is caused by a bacterial infection, and leads to destruction of the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. When neglected, teeth can become loose and fall out. If you answered no, score 0 points. If yes, you should talk to your dentist about regular periodontal exams.

  17. Have your gums receded, or do your teeth look longer?

    One of the warning signs of gum disease includes gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before. If you answered no, score 0 points. If yes, you should talk to your dentist about regular periodontal exams.

Answer Key

0-4 Unlikely to have any major problems, but should be checked by your dentist at each cleaning visit.

5-9 Likely a problem. Ask your dentist about a periodontal evaluation.

10-15 Chances are good you have a periodontal problem. Seek a periodontal exam for the sake of your overall health and the health of your gums and teeth.

Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting

Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting