Periodontal disease status of an indigenous population of Guatemala, Central America

S. A. Dowsett, L. Archila, V. A. Segreto, G. J. Eckert, M. J. Kowolik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study was designed to determine the periodontal disease status of an indigenous Indian community of rural Central America (San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala), for comparison with results of similar studies in other populations, and with a view to performing future studies to address familial clustering of adult periodontitis. Methods & Results: An initial screen of 239 subjects aged 12-75 years from extended families suggested a high disease prevalence according to full-mouth pocket probing depths (PPDs), with more than 75% of subjects with one or more pockets of PPD ≥5 mm. A more detailed study was performed in 125 unrelated subjects ≥18 years, recording full-mouth PPDs and clinical attachment levels (CALs). The high prevalence of pocketing was confirmed and 90% of adults ≥35 years had at least one site with CAL ≥6 mm. However, extensive disease was restricted to a small minority, with only 10% of adults ≥35 years having 20% or more sites with CAL ≥6 mm. Conclusion: The study results highlight the importance of performing a detailed examination and appropriate analysis. In both studies, tooth retention was high (mean number of teeth recorded was 26.4 and 28.0 respectively), smoking unusual, and families large and localised to the village. This community thus affords several advantages over populations in developed countries when considering familial studies of adult periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Clinical attachment level
  • Developing country
  • Epidemiology
  • Latin America
  • Periodontal disease
  • Pocket probing depth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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