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The IHS Periodontal Treatment Initiative

Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and has an effect on nutrition and overall health. According to 2010 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), almost half of adults over the age of 30 have periodontal disease, and the prevalence may even be higher in American Indians and Alaska Natives. Consequently, the IHS Division of Oral Health has created a new national initiative, the IHS Periodontal Disease Initiative.

The goal of the IHS Periodontal Disease Initiative is to increase focus on the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases in IHS, tribal, and urban dental programs. Our overlying theme for this initiative is:

"Overall Health begins with Periodontal Health"

Program components/products for this initiative will include each of the following:

  • Screening Guide: A new CPI Guide has been designed to remind providers of how to use the Community Periodontal Index (CPI) to screen patients for periodontal disease.
  • Treatment Guide: A Periodontal Treatment Flow Sheet will serve as a guide for clinicians in treating many patients with periodontal disease.
  • Overview of Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning: A presentation for oral health care providers is being developed that will give a broad overview and a common sense, public health approach to managing periodontal disease.
  • Oral-Systemic Link: Another presentation for all dental staff and our medical partners will show current research that explores the links between oral conditions such as periodontal disease and systemic health problems [which supports the initiative theme of “Overall Health begins with Periodontal Health”].
  • Periodontal Patient Management Overview: Another presentation that provides even greater detail on treating patients with periodontal disease will be developed for dental providers in managing periodontal disease patients.

Periodontal Initiative Documents

As mentioned, the goal is to increase awareness of the screening/early detection and treatment of periodontal disease in our IHS, tribal, and urban dental programs. Your feedback is important to us. Please contact Dr. Todd Smith, IHS National Periodontal Consultant, at, or Dr. Tim Ricks, Co-Lead of the initiative, at, if you have comments or suggestions.