Oral Health Concerns in U.S.
Poor oral health is often overlooked when assessing our overall health, even though studies show that oral health might contribute to a variety of diseases and health conditions. Despite efforts to educate the public on this health risk, a significant number of people in the U.S. have gum disease or periodontitis.
Oral Health Statistics
The most recent studies by the CDC on the prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S. shows that 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. This trend is more common, 70.1%, in those over 65. According to the CDC this condition is more common in men than women (56.4% vs 38.4%), those living below the federal poverty level (65.4%), those with less than a high school education (66.9%), and current smokers (64.2%).
What conditions may be linked to oral health?
Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions including:
Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection – putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.
HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis – which causes bones to become weak and brittle – might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome – an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth and eating disorders.
Source: Mayo Clinic