Written by: John Tunnell, DDS (Dallas County Dental Society member)
A recently-published study using data collected from the 2009-2012 United States National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) has shed some light on possible risk factors for the development of periodontal disease. NHANES is a survey conducted on a sample of citizens of the United States intended to be representative of the overall population. In this study, 7066 participants received periodontal examinations and the collected data was used to determine risk indicators for periodontal disease. The authors found that 46% of the overall US population aged 30 and older had some form of periodontal disease. The study also found that overall, periodontal disease was more common in males than females, in older than younger patients, in Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks than in non-Hispanic whites, in patients living in poverty, in current smokers than non-smokers, and in patients with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus than those with well controlled or no diabetes mellitus.
(Source: Eke PI, Wei L, Thornton-Evans GO, Borrell LN, Borgnakke WS, Dye B, Genco RJ. Risk Indicators for Periodontitis in US Adults: NHANES 2009 to 2012. J Periodontol. 2016 Oct;87(10):1174-85. doi: 10.1902/jop.2016.160013. Epub 2016 Jul 1. PubMed PMID: 27367420)
This study highlights the important finding that periodontal disease is much more common in the overall U.S. population than previously thought. Additionally, several factors were identified that may make patients more likely to have or to develop periodontal disease. Talk to your periodontist or general dentist about periodontal disease and determine if you are at risk.