Root caries: a periodontal perspective
Background and objective
A prevailing dental problem in the periodontal patient is root caries. Specifically, periodontal involvement often results in root surfaces becoming exposed and at risk for this condition. Periodontal therapy often leads to increased gingival recession as well, and the associated increased root caries risk may compromise the long-term success and survival of periodontally treated teeth.This narrative review will address the topic of root caries in the periodontal patient, focusing on unmet research needs.
Material and Methods
The Medline database was searched to identify items dealing with root caries, in terms of clinical features, diagnosis, pathogenic mechanisms and histopathology, as well as epidemiology, focusing then on the relationship between root caries and periodontal disorders.
Although there is extensive literature on root caries, consensus is lacking regarding certain aspects, such as diagnostic criteria, prevalence within populations and indisputable risk factors. Advancing age could be an aggravating factor in susceptibility to root caries for the periodontal patient; however, definitive evidence in this regard is still missing. Similarly, full awareness of the increased risk of root caries in patients with periodontal disease or long-term periodontal treatment appears to be still lacking.
Research regarding root caries in age-specific (elderly) periodontal patients is needed. Improved oral hygiene practices, locally applied preventive measures, good dietary habits and regular dental check-ups are crucial approaches to prevent both periodontal disease progression and root caries. Periodontal patients with root exposure should follow a strict root caries prevention protocol, as an integral component of their periodontal maintenance therapy.