Background: Community-based periodontal examinations are not popular despite the high prevalence of periodontal disease among adults. This study examines the effectiveness of a novel salivary occult blood test (SOBT) as a screening method for periodontal status. Methods: Comprehensive health examinations were conducted in adult residents aged ≥40 years in Hisayama, Fukuoka, Japan; 1, 998 subjects, each with ≥20 teeth, were analyzed. A paper test strip was used to perform the SOBT and was followed by a periodontal examination. Results were ranked as negative or positive. Subjects with ≥15% of teeth with bleeding on probing (BOP) or ≥1 tooth with a probing depth (PD) ≥4 mm were defined as having a poor periodontal status. The relationship between the results of the SOBT and periodontal parameters and among other variables was examined. Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the SOBT in screening for poor periodontal status were 0.72 and 0.52, respectively. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, the results of the SOBT were significantly associated with the proportion of teeth with BOP and the proportion of teeth with PD ≥4 mm, independent of age, sex, use of antihypertensive medication, use of antidiabetic medication or insulin therapy, and the number of decayed or filled teeth. Conclusion: The SOBT may offer a simple screening method for periodontal status when athorough periodontal examination is not possible, although it is not sufficiently specific to be a reasonable substitute for a periodontal examination.
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