The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults in the United States. That is 64.7 million adults 30 years or older that are combating a disease that not only can make your breath foul, but can cause you to lose your teeth, and increases your risk for other serious and life threatening diseases such as breast cancer.
Amazingly, periodontitis rates have never been examined at a regional level. Looking at periodontitis regionally can help researchers identify which areas of the country and populations are most at risk for this disease.
Recently, the CDC has reexamined a set of data collected for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2019 in order to estimate the geographical distribution of periodontitis prevalence in the United States for the first time ever.
Region by Region
For the NHANES, adults underwent a full mouth periodontal examination where probe measurements were taken of six sides for every tooth except the wisdom teeth.
The researchers calculated the probability of periodontitis for adults by their age, gender, race/ethnicity, smoking status, and poverty status using definitions established by the CDC and the American Academy of Periodontology. They then used the US 2010 census to estimate the number of individuals with these risk factors living in each census block, and were able to estimate periodontitis rates for each region.
According to their article, “estimated prevalence of periodontitis ranged from 37.7% in Utah to 52.8% in New Mexico among the states (mean, 45.1%; median, 44.9%) and from 33.7% to 68% among counties (mean, 46.6%; median, 45.9%). Severe periodontitis ranged from 7.27% in New Hampshire to 10.26% in Louisiana among the states (mean, 8.9%; median, 8.8%) and from 5.2% to 17.9% among counties (mean, 9.2%; median, 8.8%).”
Periodontitis tends to be more widespread in southeastern and southwestern states, with the Mississippi Delta and regions along the US/Mexico border having higher periodontal rates regionally.
Periodontitis is Preventable
These percentages are honestly staggering. Most states, including Pennsylvania, have a periodontitis rate of nearly 50%, which reflects the national estimate brought forth by the CDC.
Periodontitis is not a condition that should be taken lightly. It doesn’t just take your teeth from you, this disease can be fatal. The best way to combat periodontitis is to practice good dental hygiene at home. This means brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and following up with mouthwash. You should also make a habit of visiting your dentist regularly.
Although Philadelphia is out of the regions most at-risk for periodontitis, we are still at high risk of serious gum disease and consequences like tooth loss. Regular preventive visits can help control gum disease and reduce the chances that you will need to replace a tooth with a dental implant.