Ethnicity affects the effectiveness of periodontitis treatment

According to a 2022 study, periodontitis is significantly more common among Hispanic (64%) and non-Hispanic Blacks (59%) than among non-Hispanic Whites (41%). In a recent 2023 pilot study, scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston attempted to determine whether ethnic/racial groups respond differently to non-surgical periodontal treatment and whether treatment outcomes correlate with pretreatment from spreading bacteria. The results showed that elevated levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis and ethnic/racial origin may adversely affect periodontal treatment.

Ethnicity affects the effectiveness of periodontitis treatment

Seventy-five patients in the study had stage II or III generalized periodontitis and self-reported their ethnicity/race as non-Hispanic Caucasian American, non-Hispanic African American, or Hispanic American. There were no statistical differences in sex, age, or number of teeth previously present before treatment, nor statistical differences in clinical attachment level (CLL) or probing depth at baseline.

However, after scaling and root planing, there was a statistically significant increase in PFC in non-Hispanic Caucasian patients compared with Hispanic American patients. No difference was noted between non-Hispanic white Americans and non-Hispanic African Americans or between non-Hispanic African Americans and Hispanic American patients. There were no statistical differences between either group in probing depth measurement after initial periodontitis treatment. All three groups showed a statistically significant decrease in both probing depth and PAN at the six-week examination compared with baseline.

In terms of measured levels of bacterial species primarily associated with periodontitis, Hispanic American patients had the highest numbers of both Streptococcus cristatus and P. gingivalis. P. gingivalis was present in greater numbers than S. cristatus in non-Hispanic African American patients compared to non-Hispanic Caucasian patients. Statistically significant differences were found between the three groups only for P.gingivalis.

The 2022 study cited earlier also reports a documented association between periodontitis and a number of comorbidities associated with racial/ethnic disparities in care. In this study, researchers cited disproportionate access to proper oral care for racial/ethnic minorities in the US as a factor in the varying prevalence of periodontitis. They also pointed to the vast amount of scientific work that has been done showing incontrovertible genetic variation within existing racial designations, and while this concept is useful for identifying differences between groups across a wide range of factors, disregarding “race” as reliable scientific parameter.