According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every two Americans aged 30 and up has periodontal disease. This study, entitled "Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010," was published in the Journal of Dental Research and estimates that nearly 65 million American adults have some form of periodontal disease.
As defined by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), periodontal disease is an inflammatory ailment that targets the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth and cannot be left untreated. The data obtained consisted of the results of the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which included a full-mouth periodontal exam that evaluated the presence of periodontitis on a scale from mild to severe cases. Previous surveys only examined part of the mouth, which left plenty of room for periodontitis to lurk in unexamined areas and it is also speculated the prevalence of this disease was underestimated by almost 50 percent up until now.
The findings indicated that 47.2 percent of Americans aged 30 and over suffer from the disease – a percentage that jumps to 70.1 percent in adults 65 and over. Periodontal disease has been found to be much more prevalent in adult males at 56.4 percent, with adult women at 38.4 percent. Compared to other races, Mexican-Americans topped the list with a prevalence of 66.7 percent. Other categories studied were smokers (64.2), those with less than a high school education (66.9) and those living in poverty (65.4).
Due to these findings, the AAP urges Americans to get yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluations to prevent tooth loss and other serious ailments such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Click the infographic thumbnail to the right to download.