More American adults may have gum disease than previously thought, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). Results of a study released in September 2010 suggest that previous studies may have underestimated the prevalence of moderate to severe periodontal disease in the US population by as much as 50 percent.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that can destroy the gum tissue, ligaments and even the bone supporting the teeth. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and can even interfere with other systems of the body. Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, has been associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers.
“GIVEN WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GUM DISEASE AND OTHER DISEASES, TAKING CARE OF YOUR ORAL HEALTH ISN’T JUST ABOUT A PRETTY SMILE,” says Samuel Low, DDS and President of the AAP. “It has bigger implications for overall health, and is therefore a more significant public health problem.”
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums has become more important than ever. Daily tooth brushing and flossing can help you avoid heart attack and stroke, but they are not an acceptable substitute for the important annual periodontal evaluation.Assess your risk for periodontal disease at perio.org.