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J Periodontol. 2011 Aug;82(8):1140-5. doi: 10.1902/jop.2010.100593.

Periodontal status of adults with systemic sclerosis: case-control study.

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  • 1Prince Philip Dental Hospital, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.



Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects connective tissue in the skin, blood vessels, and major organs of the body. This project aims to compare the periodontal status of dentate Hong Kong Chinese with and without SSc.


Thirty-six non-smoking adults with SSc (one male and 35 females: aged 50.6 ± 11.7 years; free from Sjögren syndrome) attending a teaching hospital were age- and sex-matched to systemically healthy controls attending a dental hospital. Both groups had similar demographic characteristics but a lower proportion of patients with SSc were working or studying (P <0.05). Twenty-three (32%) of all participants were regular dental attendees. Orthopantomogram radiographs were taken. Participants were surveyed and periodontally examined.


Both groups had a similar number of erupted teeth, proportion of sites with detectable plaque, and mean full-mouth clinical attachment level, whereas controls had less bleeding on probing (49.3% ± 22.6% versus 78.4% ± 19.6%; P <0.001) and a shallower mean full-mouth probing depth (1.92 ± 0.44 mm versus 2.52 ± 0.58 mm; P <0.001). Radiographically, patients with SSc had wider periodontal ligament spaces (0.36 ± 0.06 mm versus 0.33 ± 0.03 mm; P <0.01).


Hong Kong Chinese adults with SSc seem to exhibit higher levels of periodontal inflammation and wider radiographic periodontal ligament spaces than age- and sex-matched controls. Future studies are warranted to further investigate any associations between these periodontal features and SSc.

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