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Nearly half of adults over age 30 have gum disease

Sep 21, 2012

Photo Source: Fresh Dental

Gum disease affects nearly one out of two Americans age 30 or over, and men are almost 20 percent more likely to have it, says a newly released study.

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million adults, have mild, moderate or severe gum disease (periodontitis). Of that 47.2 percent, nine percent are estimated to have mild cases of gum disease, 30 percent moderate and 8.5 percent severe.

The study found that men are more likely be affected, as 56.4 percent of men studied and 38.4 percent of women had contracted some level of the disease.

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria plaque. Left untreated it leads to tooth loss and some studies indicate it leads to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Of  the 47.2 million estimated to have periodontitis, that rate increases to 70.1 percent for men and women age 65 and over. This rate for those 65 and older is far higher than previous national estimates, researchers say.

This is the most accurate picture of periodontal disease in the U.S. adult population we have ever had,” said Pamela McClain, DDS,  President of the American Academy of Periodontology.  A practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, McCalain noted, “For the first time, we now have a precise measure of the prevalence of periodontal disease, and can better understand the true severity and extent of periodontal disease in our country.”

In the study entitled “Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010,” researchers analyzed data on more than 3,700 adults in the nationally representative study.  Findings indicated that 66.7 percent of Mexican-Americans were likely to have the disease and 64.2 percent of smokers.

Those living below the federal poverty level (65.4 percent) and those with less than a high school education (66.9 percent) were also susceptible.

The American Academy of Periodontology recommends every adult gets a comprehensive periodontal evaluation,  or CPE, on an annual basis. 

Sources: HealthDay,, WebMD

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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