BSPD Highlights Importance Of Perio Screening In Youngsters

BSPD Highlights Importance Of Perio Screening In Youngsters

New guidelines have been issued for screening youngsters for periodontal disease.

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) and the British Society of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry (BSP) are reinforcing updated national guidelines for the management of patients aged under 18 in primary care.

The updated guidelines are published on the websites of both BSP and BSPD, and incorporate the new Classification System devised at the 2017 World Workshop. The 2021 guidelines also reflect the new method of staging and grading periodontitis arising from the same landmark meeting, which influences the management of all patients.

“The BDPD says At the heart of any screening is the BPE (Basic Periodontal Examination) first developed in 1986.”

“It wasn’t until 2012, however, that BPE screening was produced for the management of young people from the age of seven. A simplified version, the sBPE, examines only six teeth:  the permanent molars and one incisor in the upper arch and one incisor in the lower arch; these reflect teeth susceptible to periodontal disease in this age group.”

The American Academy of Paediatric Dentists said in 2019 “Studies show that gingivitis occurs in half of the population by age of four or five years and peaks nearly to 100 percent at puberty.”

Both the BSPD and BSP say in the guidelines that the examination in youngsters “Needs to be quick, easy, well tolerated, and to avoid false pockets.”

“False pockets were common around erupting first molars and incisors at 7 years of age, but significantly reduced by 12 years of age and almost non-existent by age 17 years. False pockets were still problematic around second molars at 17 years of age,” the guidelines say.

Professor Valerie Clerehugh and Dr Susan Kindelan developed the 2012 and the updated 2021 guidelines, on behalf of the BSP and BSPD.

They agreed “Gingival diseases are prevalent in young people, and reversible gingival inflammation can progress to the initial stages of irreversible periodontal destruction in adolescents.”

“While severe forms of periodontal diseases are uncommon in the younger age groups, identification of those affected by gingival and periodontal problems is important and dental practitioners have an important role to play in their early recognition and diagnosis.”

“Practitioners should be aware that smoking in children and young people, including the use of e-cigarettes, and higher levels of obesity are factors which might have an impact on the prevalence of gingivitis and periodontitis.”

Dr Kindelan commented “Prevention of periodontal diseases is hugely important. Patients treated by BSPD members are more likely to have co-morbidities or complex syndromes which impact on gum conditions. For this cohort of patients, early diagnosis and referral is recommended.”

BSPD spokesperson Dr Claire Stevens said: “So much has changed in the field of periodontology over recent years, this update is timely.”

“We very much hope to build awareness of the important of the sBPE (Simplified Basic Periodontal Examination) so that it is integral to all appointments with young people aged seven and over.”

The new updated guidelines can also be found here.

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