Periodontal disease most prevalent among ethnic minorities

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study finds that 63% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. have periodontitis (Journal of Periodontology, February 17, 2015).

The study also reports that non-Hispanic African-Americans have a 59% prevalence rate of periodontitis, followed by Asian-American adults with a prevalence rate of 50%.

Regarding age groups, periodontal disease is present in 68% of U.S. adults age 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 -- have periodontitis.

This data emerges from the collaboration by the CDC and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) 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 U.S.

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 U.S. adult population," stated CDC epidemiologist and lead study author Paul Eke, PhD, in a press release. "Public health programs that aim to prevent and control periodontitis are needed to improve the overall health of our adult population."

"Periodontal disease remains a significant public health issue for people of all backgrounds," stated Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, president of the AAP, in the release. "These findings support the need for all adults age 30 and over to receive an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dental professional to identify and treat periodontal disease as needed."

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