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04-01-2012 | Internal medicine | Article

Periodontal disease surveyed in Jordan


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MedWire News: Gum disease is common among people living in Jordan and is associated with age, education, toothbrushing frequency, and family history, research shows.

The findings are reported by Khansa Ababneh (Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid) and colleagues in the open-access journal BMC Oral Health and provide the first-ever data on the epidemiology of gingivitis and periodontitis in the Kingdom of Jordan.

Ababneh's team surveyed a random sample of 595 people who had no history of orthodontic or periodontal treatment. Their mean age was 28 years (range 14-67 years) and 359 were women. All participants underwent a full-mouth periodontal examination.

Just 16.3% of participants were considered to have healthy gums, Ababneh et al report. Gingivitis was detected in 75.8% of the cohort, aggressive periodontitis in 2.2%, and chronic periodontitis in 5.5%.

Analysis by age revealed that periodontitis was uncommon among participants aged under 40 years, being present in just 2.3%. The prevalence rose sharply after this age, however, to 21.2% in those aged 40-49 years and 53.3% in the over-50s.

Periodontitis also varied by gender, being 1.6 times more common in men than in women, and by sociodemographic indices, being slightly more common in those with a family income of 400 Jordanian Dinars (US$ 564; € 436) or more than in those with lower incomes.

Several other baseline characteristics differed between those with and without gum disease. For example, people living in rural areas had a higher prevalence of gingivitis and periodontitis than those living in urban areas, potentially reflecting access to dental care, note the authors.

Similarly, just 4% of people with a normal bodyweight had gingivitis or periodontitis, compared with 20.4% of overweight individuals. In addition, the prevalence of gum disease was very high among cigarette smokers, at 84.2%, versus just 7.4% in non-smokers.

In multivariate analysis, four factors were significantly associated with the prevalence of gingivitis and periodontitis: older age (odds ratio [OR]=1.2 per 1-year increase); years of education (OR=5.5 for those with ≤12 years vs >12 years); frequency of toothbrushing (OR=2.6 for irregular and 24.9 for none versus regular brushing); and a positive family history of gum disease (OR=4.8).

Commenting on their data, Ababneh et al note that this is the first study to report the prevalence and risk factors for periodontal disease among adults in Jordan.

They say that the high prevalence of gum disease among males "may be attributed to poor attitude towards health and smoking," whereas the high prevalence in lower-income individuals is "probably due to difficulty in affording dental treatment and oral hygiene aids."

"We recommend the onset of larger scale cross-sectional studies involving the whole country to investigate the prevalence of gingivitis and periodontitis," they conclude.

"The risk indicators should be investigated in longitudinal studies to elucidate whether they are true risk factors."

By Joanna Lyford

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