Oral Health and Our Hispanic Community

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodontal disease is most prevalent among ethnic minorities, specifically the Hispanic population. Because these findings have a direct impact on our immediate community, we’re taking notice. The research found that 63% of Hispanic adults and 59% of African-American adults in the United States have periodontitis. Asian-Americans were found to have a prevalence rate of 50%.

The data was collected in collaboration by the CDC and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). As part of this program, a full-mouth periodontal examination was conducted in an effort to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the U.S. Periodontal disease as it relates to age was also assessed, with researchers concluding that the oral disease is present in 68% of adults age 65 and older. Additionally, they confirmed that nearly half of all U.S. adults age 30 and older have periodontitis.

“Periodontal disease remains a significant public health issue for people of all backgrounds,” stated Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, president of AAP. “These finding support the need for all adults age 30 and over to receive an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dental professional to identify and treat periodontal disease as needed.” Periodontitis, or gum disease, damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports teeth. If left untreated, it can eventually cause tooth loss and is also associated with a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or other serious health problems. While periodontitis is rather common, it is also largely preventable. A genetic component may be at play is some cases of gum disease, but it is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. The best defense against gum disease is following a good oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and visiting your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and exams.

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