A recent CDC study has found a prevalence of periodontal disease in those over 65, and estimates that over half of all American adults suffer from symptoms. The study, entitled Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010, shows that 47.2 percent of adults have some form periodontal disease. Lead author, Paul Eke, expects that the findings will influence public health policy by exhibiting a greater need for oral hygiene awareness in adults.
From Gingivitis to Periodontitis
Inflamed gums are an indication that you’re in the earliest stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis. If left untreated, however, the swelling and infection can spread to the teeth and bones, forming lesions and becoming a major health condition known as periodontitis. Participants in the study were tested for this form of periodontal disease, because it is the most severe and destructive, and can sometimes result in the loss of teeth altogether.
Many previous studies relied only on a partial-mouth examination, potentially underestimating prevalence by as much as fifty percent. The CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) assessed children and adults for mild, moderate, and severe periodontitis, making the study the most thorough of its kind in the United States. The study highlights the importance of a comprehensive evaluation and examination of all teeth, above and below the gum line, to truly determine the extent of the infection.
The Risk to Seniors and Smokers
Findings indicated an imbalance in those affected by periodontitis. While those at greatest risk are those over 65 (70.1 percent of adults), men are more likely than women to be affected (56.4 percent vs. 38.4 percent). Other segments of the population particularly susceptible include: smokers (64.2 percent), those below the federal poverty line (65.4 percent), and those without a high school education (66.9 percent).
Schedule an Appointment
A visual examination alone is simply not enough to determine the extent of gum disease. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Aziza Askari for a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health. Please call our Farmington Hills dentist office at (804) 417-7203 today. We serve Farmington Hills and surrounding areas.