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Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-8 is a protease that degrades numerous extracellular molecules and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of periodontitis. Polymorphism in the MMP-8 could affect the susceptibility to disease. Our aim was to evaluate the association between periodontitis and MMP-8 -799 C>T polymorphism.Genomic DNA was obtained from 361 chronic periodontitis patients (CP), 96 aggressive periodontitis patients (AgP), and 106 periodontally healthy controls (HC). MMP-8 -799 C>T polymorphism was determined using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP).The frequencies of genotypes in diseased groups were similar but were significantly different from those in the HC. Multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age, gender and smoking indicated that increased risks of AgP and CP were associated with the -799 T allele (in AgP, adjusted OR = 1.99, p = 0.04; in CP, adjusted OR = 1.87, p = 0.007). To avoid the confounded effect of smoking on MMP-8 polymorphism to periodontitis, the analysis was conducted on non-smokers and the associations were significant.These results suggested that non-smoking Taiwanese with the MMP-8 -799 T allele were associated with the risks of both CP and AgP. Further studies in other ethnic populations are necessary.