New Research Reveals Alarming Statistics!

Posted on Sep 07, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The Journal of Dental Research recently published results from a National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), indicating that one out of two American adults over age 30 have periodontitis. The findings highlight the extent, severity and prevalence of periodontal disease in our population.

The findings reveal that over 47% of adults have periodontal disease, which jumps to 70% in adults over age 65. Men have a higher incidence than women (56% vs. 38%), with smokers at 64%.

What makes this survey unique is that the data collected was the first to use full-mouth periodontal examinations. Since 2003, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has been working closely with Centers For Disease Control (CDC) for an accurate accounting of periodontal disease in the U.S. The NHANES study was the first to use full-mouth periodontal examinations, rather than partial mouth protocols.

Partial mouth exams involve two randomly selected sections at two sites per tooth. Because periodontal disease is not distributed evenly in the mouth, prior surveys likely underestimated its prevalence. The full-mouth periodontal exam measured six sites per tooth for all teeth.

These findings support the need for greater awareness among our nation’s adults. Because of the relationship between periodontal disease and diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, periodontal disease should be acknowledged as a major public health concern.

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