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Half of American adults have periodontal disease

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Half of American adults have periodontal disease
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has worked closely with CDC since 2003 on periodontal disease surveillance.

In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent. This study is published in the Journal of Dental Research, the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research.

The findings are based on data collected as part of CDC’s 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The 2009-2010 NHANES included for the first time a full-mouth periodontal examination to assess for mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis, making it the most comprehensive survey of periodontal health ever conducted in the United States. Researchers measured periodontitis because it is the most destructive form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease, was not assessed.

Previous NHANES relied on partial mouth periodontal examinations and may have missed disease in teeth that were not examined. Since periodontal disease is not evenly distributed in the mouth, estimates based on partial mouth examinations may have underestimated actual prevalence rates in the U.S. population by as much as 50 percent.

“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 (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colo. “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. The AAP values its collaboration with CDC to better understand the burden of periodontal disease in Americans.”

The findings also indicate disparities among certain segments of the U.S. population. Periodontal disease is higher in men than women (56.4 percent vs. 38.4 percent) and is highest in Mexican-Americans (66.7 percent) compared to other races. Other segments with high prevalence rates include current smokers (64.2 percent); those living below the federal poverty level (65.4 percent); and those with less than a high school education (66.9 percent).

According to Paul Eke, MPH, PhD, lead author and CDC epidemiologist, the findings may drive public health policy. “We have demonstrated a high burden of periodontal disease in the adult U.S. population, especially among adults 65 and older,” Eke said. “Periodontal disease is associated with age, and as Americans live longer and retain more of their natural teeth, periodontal disease may take on more prominence in the oral health of the U.S adult population. Maintaining good periodontal health is important to the overall health and well-being of our aging population. Our findings support a need for public health programs to improve the oral health of adults.”

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Source: www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/scope/news/region/usa/id/9700

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