Periodontitis is bacterial infection of tooth-supporting tissues leading to inflammation and, subsequently, to loss of teeth. It is one of the most common infections worldwide. Recent studies have shown that periodontal infection may pose a threat to general health by increasing the risk of cardiovascular and lung diseases, and preterm labour. Thus, useful markers of systemic exposure to periodontitis are needed. Markers of periodontitis in serum include those derived directly from periodontopathic pathogens and those originating from the host defence and immune mechanisms. Periodontitis is associated with endotoxemia, which can be directly measured as elevated concentrations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in periodontitis patients compared with healthy subjects. Also indirect methods determining endotoxemia, such as elevated concentrations of serum LPS binding protein, soluble CD14, and antibodies to LPS of periodontal pathogens have been reported. Surrogate measures of the host response against periodontal infection, such as matrix metalloproteinases, cytokines, chemokines, inflammation markers, antiphospholipid antibodies, and antibodies to periodontal pathogens, have been used. Of these, however, only antibodies to periodontal pathogens may be seen as specific markers of systemic exposure to periodontopathic pathogens. In this paper we describe and discuss serum markers of periodontitis that have been used for research purposes and/or to support diagnostics. Based on literature review, we encourage research and development of serum screening methods for periodontitis that could be used by general physicians.