Self-report is an efficient and accepted means of assessing many population characteristics, risk factors, and diseases, but has rarely been used for periodontal disease (chronic periodontitis). The availability of valid self-reported measures of periodontal disease would facilitate epidemiologic studies on a much larger scale, allow for integration of new studies of periodontal disease within large ongoing studies, and facilitate lower-cost population surveillance of periodontitis. Several studies have been conducted to validate self-reported measures for periodontal disease, but results have been inconsistent. In this report, we conducted a systematic review of the validation studies. We reviewed the 16 studies that assessed the validity of self-reported periodontal and gingivitis measures against clinical gold standards. Seven of the studies included self-reported measures specific to gingivitis, four included measures only for periodontitis, and five included both gingivitis and periodontal measures. Three of the studies used a self-assessment method where they provided the patient with a detailed manual for performing a self-exam. The remaining 13 studies asked participants to self-report symptoms, presence of periodontal disease itself, or their recollection of a dental health professional diagnosing them or providing treatment for periodontal disease. The review indicates that some measures showed promise, but results varied across populations and self-reported measures. One example of a good measure is, "Has any dentist/hygienist told you that you have deep pockets?", which had a sensitivity of 55%, a specificity of 90%, positive predictive value of 77%, and negative predictive value of 75% against clinical pocket depth. Higher validity could be potentially obtained by the use of combinations of several self-reported questions and other predictors of periodontal disease.