Gum Disease Statistics
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a condition that affects the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. Gum disease causes symptoms such as inflammation, tenderness, and gum recession. If gum disease is not treated, it can ultimately lead to tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults.
Gum disease is much more common than most people realize. Here, the dentists from Smiles for Life Dental Care, serving Harrisonburg, VA, Staunton, VA, and surrounding areas, present gum disease statistics that demonstrate the prevalence of this oral health complication.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that develops when bacteria grows in the soft tissues of the mouth. Most often, bacteria grows between the teeth and the gumline, where it ultimately leads to an infection.
In the early stages of gum disease, which is known as gingivitis, individuals may experience mild symptoms, like red gums, slight inflammation, and bleeding when brushing or flossing. As gum disease progresses, periodontal pockets can develop around the teeth. These pockets collect bacteria that can make infection worse. Over time, the gums will recede, or pull away from the teeth, which can lead to loose teeth, or tooth loss. If gum disease is not treated, the infection can spread into the bones that support the teeth as well.
How Common Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is one of the most common oral health complications. According to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47.2 percent of adults aged 30 or older have some form of periodontal disease. Fortunately, many people suffer from mild to moderate cases of gum disease. Severe gum disease is much less common. The CDC reports that just about nine percent of adults suffer from severe gum disease.
Who Is Most Vulnerable to Gum Disease?
There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of gum disease. Age has a significant impact on the likelihood of gum disease. Whereas gum disease affects nearly half of adults aged 30 or older, it is even more prevalent in the 65 years and older demographic. Data from the CDC shows that 70.1 percent of adults within this age group are affected by some form of periodontal disease.
Gum disease is also more common in the following demographics:
- Men (56.4 percent of men suffer from some degree of gum disease as compared to 38.4 percent of women)
- Individuals living below the poverty level (65.4 percent are affected by gum disease)
- Individuals with less than a high school education (66.9 percent are affected by gum disease)
- Current smokers (64.2 percent are affected by gum disease)
Treating Gum Disease
Gum disease poses a threat to oral health, but as long as it is treated early on, our Harrisonburg area patients can prevent serious complications. Most often, gum disease can be treated with a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. To ensure that gum disease is diagnosed and treated before the teeth and bone structure are compromised, individuals should maintain a schedule of biannual dental exams and cleanings.
Contact Our Dental Practice
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease and would like to learn more about periodontal treatment, we invite you to schedule an appointment at Smiles for Life Dental Care. To get in touch with our dental team, contact us online or call (540) 887-3304 at your earliest convenience.