Chronic periodontitis (CP) is a progressive inflammatory disease that can lead to mobility and pathologic migration of teeth in adults and is a major cause of tooth loss in both developed and developing countries. Susceptibility to CP varies from individual to individual and is not evenly distributed among populations. An individual's host response to pathogenic bacteria, along with numerous systemic health, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors, all impact the likelihood, severity, and extent of the disease. Epigenetic activity affects gene expression, influences the trajectory of health and disease, and is modified by exposure to environmental factors. This paper aims to provide a brief explanation of the connection between epigenetics and CP, highlighting why an understanding of epigenetic influences is important to the dental clinician if early diagnosis and management approaches of CP are to be more effective.
Keywords: epigenetics, gingivitis, inflammation, periodontal disease, periodontitis