Background In mucosal barrier interfaces, flexible responses of gene expression to long-term environmental changes allow adaptation and fine-tuning for the balance of host defense and uncontrolled not-resolving inflammation. Epigenetic modifications of the chromatin confer plasticity to the genetic information and give insight into how tissues use the genetic information to adapt to environmental factors. The oral mucosa is particularly exposed to environmental stressors such as a variable microbiota. Likewise, persistent oral inflammation is the most important intrinsic risk factor for the oral inflammatory disease periodontitis and has strong potential to alter DNA-methylation patterns. The aim of the current study was to identify epigenetic changes of the oral masticatory mucosa in response to long-term inflammation that resulted in periodontitis. Methods and results Genome-wide CpG methylation of both inflamed and clinically uninflamed solid gingival tissue biopsies of 60 periodontitis cases was analyzed using the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip. We validated and performed cell-type deconvolution for infiltrated immune cells using the EpiDish algorithm. Effect sizes of DMPs in gingival epithelial and fibroblast cells were estimated and adjusted for confounding factors using our recently developed "intercept-method". In the current EWAS, we identified various genes that showed significantly different methylation between periodontitis-inflamed and uninflamed oral mucosa in periodontitis patients. The strongest differences were observed for genes with roles in wound healing (ROBO2, PTP4A3), cell adhesion (LPXN) and innate immune response (CCL26, DNAJC1, BPI). Enrichment analyses implied a role of epigenetic changes for vesicle trafficking gene sets. Conclusions Our results imply specific adaptations of the oral mucosa to a persistent inflammatory environment that involve wound repair, barrier integrity, and innate immune defense.