Original Publication
Open Access

Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health for Medical Students

Published: July 8, 2013 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9468

Included in this publication:

  • Answer Form.docx
  • Answer Key.docx
  • BOHC Toolkit.pdf
  • Evaluation Form.docx
  • Instructor's Guide.docx
  • Objectives and Case Studies.doc

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


The goal of this learning module is to provide instruction on currently-available knowledge regarding the association between periodontal disease and both cardiovascular outcomes and type 2 diabetes. It also aims to supplement the level of understanding through the use of case-based patient scenarios via an online module to third-year medical students. Research has identified associations between poor dental health and a worsening of systemic diseases or conditions including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, chronic kidney disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Periodontal disease is a common chronic infectious disease and it is characterized by a progressive gingival inflammatory response to bacterial plaque on the teeth that eventually leads to a loss of the involved teeth and the adjacent dental tissue. As there are common risk factors between oral and systemic diseases, one must be cautious when interpreting the literature and have a proper understanding of the role of potential confounding variables like socioeconomic status or health behavior, as well as a fundamental understanding of the different systemic diseases currently shown to be associated with poor oral health. This learning module was given to 11 third-year medical students; the estimated time for completion of the module ranged from 41 to 60 minutes. All respondents rated all objectives from excellent to satisfactory. The learning module is designed so that all students who take the module can send a completed evaluation form to the primary author so that the module can be constantly improved and updated. The module is also designed so that the students can check the corrected answers against the case scenario questions. The student can take the module and complete the stated objectives without faculty oversight.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the different types of periodontal disease.
  2. Describe the different types of periodontal treatment.
  3. Describe the available evidence of how periodontal disease may influence atherosclerotic vascular disease outcomes.
  4. Describe the most recent literature about the beneficial effects of periodontal treatment on cardiovascular outcomes or surrogate cardiovascular markers.
  5. Describe the bidirectional relationship that exists between periodontal disease and type 2 diabetes.
  6. Describe the most recent literature about the beneficial effects of periodontal treatment on the metabolic control of type 2 diabetic patients.
  7. Recognize periodontal disease when present in the oral cavity and be able to determine if the patient should be referred to a dentist for periodontal treatment.

Author Information

  • Brian Laurence, DDS, PhD: Howard University
  • Alison Glascoe: Howard University College of Dentistry
  • Crystal Mcintosh: Howard University College of Dentistry
  • Akeyla Brown: Howard University College of Dentistry

None to report.

None to report.


Laurence B, Glascoe A, Mcintosh C, Brown A. Periodontal disease and systemic health for medical students. MedEdPORTAL. 2013;9:9468. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9468

This publication is co-sponsored by the American Dental Education Association.