What does epidemiology help prove?

What does epidemiology help prove?

(1) Who gets the disease. Where does it occur? And when(at what age) does it occur?

The epidemiology of oral cancer shows the places where it is most likely to occur and, that it increases with age. Periodontal disease should be no different.

Where is the most plaque located? And which teeth have been exposed to plaque the longest? Which teeth are the last to be lost?
The lower anteriors(remember they erupt the earliest)!!! Why is this? It can't be because of plaque.

Will patients with altered passive eruption be more likely to loose teeth and bone because they have more plaque? Is their flora different from patients who have true deep pockets? What will this prove? Bacterial plaque causes disease???

And children who have poor oral hygiene do not suffer from destructive periodontal disease.

(2) epidemiology finds retrospective associations that hopefully will lead to randomized prospective studies.

(3) Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Do pockets contain bacteria because it is just a pouch for them to collect---just as diverticulum become a place for debris to collect? Where did the bacteria come from in the first place? Why does diverticulum occur? Because of aging.

(4) Animal studies. Why does it take many fewer years for animals to get destructive bone loss than humans if the same bacteria are involved? The life expectancy of animal species determines when teeth will be lost. Also, young animals don't get periodontal disease.


David DiBenedetto, DMD
and proud author of
"Insider's guide to gum disease, orthodontics and dentistry. What is not taught in dental school."


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