New study finds periodontal disease most prevalent among ethnic minorities

February 27, 2015
Issue 2

Sixty-three percent of Hispanic adults in the United States has periodontitis, an advanced form of periodontal disease. This finding comes from an updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published in the Journal of Periodontology.

Sixty-three percent of Hispanic adults in the United States has periodontitis, an advanced form of periodontal disease. This finding comes from an updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published in the Journal of Periodontology.

The study, titled “Update on Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: NHANES 2009-2012,” also reports that non-Hispanic blacks have a 59 percent prevalence rate of periodontitis, followed by Asian-American adults with a prevalence rate of 50 percent. Regarding age groups, periodontal disease is present in 68 percent of U.S. adults ages 65 and older. Additionally, the study confirms early contentions that approximately half of all U.S. adults age 30 and older-64.7 million Americans-suffer from periodontitis. 

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This data emerges from the CDC’s and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)'s collaboration on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The study is based on full-mouth periodontal examination data collected as part of the 2009-2012 NHANES surveillance. Previous prevalence estimates relied on NHANES data collected from 2009 through 2010.

“The updated findings verify a high burden of periodontitis in the US adult population," said Paul Eke, PhD, MPH, CDC epidemiologist and lead study author. "Public health programs that aim to prevent and control periodontitis are needed to improve the overall health of our adult population.”

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“Periodontal disease remains a significant public health issue for people of all backgrounds,” said Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, president of the AAP and a practicing periodontist in Los Angeles. “However, with proper treatment and care from a periodontist, periodontal disease is often reversible. A full-mouth periodontal evaluation is the most accurate way to assess for disease. These findings support the need for all adults ages 30 and older to receive an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dental professional to identify and treat periodontal disease as needed.”

The AAP encourages all adults to undergo a yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluation to assess their periodontal disease risk and to treat disease if it is present. AAP guidelines indicate that the evaluations are to include both probing depth and attachment loss measurements.

For more information about periodontal disease, visit perio.org.

To learn more about the state of periodontal disease, watch the video from AAP below: