In a study titled “Prevalence of Periodontis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010,” lead author Paul Eke, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates the prevalence, severity and extent of periodontitis in the adult U.S population using data from the 2009 and 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycle. The study is published in the Journal of Dental Research, the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR).
Estimates were derived from a sample of 3,742 adults 30 years and older with one or more natural teeth of the civilian non-institutionalized population. Attachment loss and probing depth were measured at six sites per tooth on all teeth (except the third molars). The study is important because it is the first national probability sample that has employed a full-mouth periodontal examination protocol versus previous partial mouth examinations.
Of the sample presented, 47.2 percent, representing 64.7 million adults, had periodontitis distributed as 8.7 percent, 30.0 percent and 8.5 percent with mild, moderate and severe periodontitis respectively. For adults 65 years and older, 64 percent had either moderate or severe periodontitis. These estimates are far higher than previous national estimates.
Periodontitis was highest in males, Mexican Americans, adults with less than high school education, adults below 100% Federal Poverty Levels, and current smokers. This survey has provided direct evidence for a high burden of periodontitis in the adult U.S. population, especially among adults 65 and older.
A perspective article titled “The prevalence of periodontics in the US: Forget what you were told” was written by Panos Papapanou, Columbia University. In it, Papapanou writes that the data presented by Eke et al. challenge us to rethink certain issues and to conduct the appropriate research that will produce evidence-based answers.
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