Current Oral Health Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 301–308 | Cite as

Periodontitis: from Infection to Inflammation

  • Gustavo G. Nascimento
  • Fabio R. M. Leite
  • Flemming Scheutz
  • Rodrigo LópezEmail author
Epidemiology (M Laine, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Epidemiology


Purpose of the Review

The purpose of this study is to discuss the current understanding of periodontitis causation.

Recent Findings

The understanding of periodontitis as a monocausal infection has hindered the investigation of other potential causes that influence periodontitis morbidity and does not reflect the complexity of periodontitis etiology. Still today, the periodontal literature frequently defines periodontitis as an infection, whereas other potential causes of periodontitis, like smoking, which seems to be causally related to periodontitis, are typically called modifying or susceptibility factors. Instead of addressing the complexity of periodontitis, the field has narrowed its focus trying to find the most important bacteria or gene. Distal causes of periodontitis and interaction between constellations of causes at multiple levels have been commonly neglected.


Understanding periodontitis as a group of signs and symptoms characterized by inflammatory destruction of the periodontium would provide a better frame for future etiological research.


Longitudinal studies Periodontal diseases Periodontitis Periodontitis risk Periodontitis risk factors Periodontitis causes 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo G. Nascimento
    • 1
  • Fabio R. M. Leite
    • 1
  • Flemming Scheutz
    • 1
  • Rodrigo López
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Section of Periodontology, Department of Dentistry and Oral HealthAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

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