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AAP Finds Periodontal Disease More Prevalent Among Ethnic Minorities

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 2015 -- A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that nearly one out of two U.S. adults age 30 and over—64.7 million Americans—has periodontitis, the advanced form of periodontal disease. The findings, reported in the Journal of Periodontology, also indicate that prevalence is highest among ethnic minorities, with 63.5 percent of Hispanic-Americans, 59.1 percent of Non-Hispanic Blacks and 50 percent of Non-Hispanic Asian Americans affected by periodontitis.

The CDC study, titled "Update on Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: NHANES 2009-2012," is based on full-mouth periodontal examination data collected as part of the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2009 through 2012. Previous prevalence estimates relied on data from the 2009 through 2010 NHANES.

According to CDC epidemiologist and lead study author Paul Eke, PhD, MPH, "The updated findings verify a high burden of periodontitis in the US adult population. 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," said Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in Los Angeles. "However, with the proper treatment and care from a periodontist, periodontal disease is often reversible. A full-mouth periodontal evaluation is the most accurate way to assess for disease. 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."

Since 2003, the AAP and the CDC have worked together to measure periodontal disease incidence and prevalence in American adults. Surveillance will continue through the 2014 NHANES to include more diverse segments of the population and to determine additional trends in periodontal disease prevalence.

For more information on periodontal disease, visit

About the American Academy of Periodontology

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is an 8,300-member professional organization for periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inflammatory diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. 

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