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Periodontal health in Europe: future trends based on treatment needs and the provision of periodontal services – position paper 1


Thomas Kocher
Unit of Periodontology
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald
DE-17487 Greifswald, Germany
Tel: +49 3834 867172
Fax: +49 3834 867171


This review gives an update on recent epidemiologic data on periodontal diseases and a description of current periodontal services in Europe. A Medline search of articles published within the last decade with the keywords epidemiology, prevalence, periodontitis, tooth loss, and Europe was performed. Data on provision of dental services originated from international databases. Epidemiologic data on the prevalence of edentulism, the number of missing teeth, the prevalence of probing depth (Community Periodontal Index – CPI ≥ 3 or Pocket Depth – PD ≥ 4 mm), and clinical attachment loss (CAL ≥ 4 mm) displayed a fragmentary picture within Europe. With respect to the limited data on periodontal health, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland ranked as the healthiest among European countries in contrast to Germany where increased tooth loss and the highest prevalence of CAL ≥ 4 mm were reported. The role of dental auxiliaries especially of dental hygienists and/or the medico-legal framework in which they work, appears to be an important factor in provision of effective periodontal care. Actual epidemiologic data on periodontal diseases are non-homogeneous and absent from several European countries. This emphasises the need for more national representative epidemiological studies with a uniform design to permit comparability between different nations. Merging actual epidemiologic data with former data on provision of periodontal care may help to explain differences in periodontal parameters on a population basis and to define future provision of dental care.