A new study conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed a startling number of adults, age 30 and older, suffering from periodontitis. Even more, they concluded that certain ethnic groups in our country are more at risk. According to a recent article from DrBicuspid.com, nearly 65 million American adults, experienced symptoms of periodontitis during the years of 2009 to 2012. Published in the Journal of Periodontology, the study also showed that 50% of Asian Americans had the disease, and that it is also very prevalent in the Hispanic community.
“We’ve known for some time that two ethnic groups, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, are at high risk for periodontal disease,” stated Capt. Bruce Dye, DDS, MPH. “Many factors are at play. There could be cultural factors; they could include diet, smoking, and alcohol use. We know smoking is a major promoter of periodontal disease and that may be a very important driver of the differences.”
The recent study showed similar numbers compared to an earlier one dating back to 2001-2004. Prevalence of the disease was associated with increasing age and was higher among males. Other notable disparities include:
- People with less than a high school education: 67%
- Current smokers: 66.6%
- Hispanics: 63.5%
- People living below the federal poverty level: 62.2%
- Non-Hispanic blacks: 59.1%
- Asian Americans: 50%
- Non-Hispanic whites: 40.8%
Of those individuals identified with periodontitis, the highest prevalence and most severe cases were found in Hispanics and current smokers. Dr. Dye further commented, “Smoking has really significant detrimental effects on gingival health and on the bone that helps support teeth.” He believes that the best way to improve periodontal disease rates around the globe is to focus on good oral hygiene and the reduction of tobacco use. In addition to quitting smoking, Dye stressed the importance of practicing good dental care. “We’re entering a different age from our parents and grandparents, and we’re retaining more of our teeth. And as we retain more teeth, we have more teeth that become susceptible to periodontal disease.” This makes it that much more important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and visit your dentist for professional cleanings and exams.