Biomedical and Health Sciences
Kyer, Michaela (School: Yorktown High School)
Periodontitis, also referred to as periodontal disease, affects 42.7% (64 million) of the population in the United States. Periodontitis is a gingival infection resulting in damage to the soft tissues within the oral cavity and contributes to the degradation of the bone that supports the structure of the oral cavity. Three problems addressed by this experiment were the increasing number of periodontitis cases within specific ethnic and age groups in both developing and developed countries, diets high in foods with little or no nutritional value thereby lowering the integrity of the oral environment, and inconsistencies in the oral hygiene regimen of the population. The goals of this study were to determine if race/ethnicity, gender, age, diet, and oral hygiene integrity affected the incidence of periodontitis. Utilizing a survey that was created under the guidance of a board-certified dentist, a patient’s possible periodontitis risk factors and oral hygiene regimen were analyzed. After obtaining 1,687 responses, from all fifty states, it was determined that age is a factor in the development of periodontitis, and without a consistent oral hygiene regimen precursors, such as inflammation and gingival bleeding, will develop or intensify (p<0.001). Future research should focus on determining the most effective holistic oral hygiene regimen to be utilized in developing countries that have limited or no access to dental care.