CDC Includes Periodontal Disease in Health Disparities and Inequalities Report

Posted on November 27, 2013


November 22, 2013 – Chicago – A report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes, for the first time, a discussion of health disparities and inequalities within periodontal disease prevalence in the United States. The report, “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2013,” is the second in a series to highlight discrepancies across a variety of diseases by sex, race, ethnicity, income, education, disability status and other social characteristics.

The report finds that while nearly half of US adults aged 30 or older have periodontal disease, the prevalence is significantly higher in non-Hispanic Blacks and Mexican Americans compared to non-Hispanic Whites. In addition, periodontitis is higher in men than in women; in people with less than a high school education; in people of lower income levels; and in current and former smokers. The report is based on an analysis of the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has been working closely with the CDC since 2003 to determine the extent, severity and prevalence of periodontal disease in the US. According to Dr. Stuart J. Froum, DDS, President of the AAP, clinical professor and Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at New York University Dental Center, the inclusion of periodontal disease in this report indicates a significant public health concern.

“Almost 65 million US adults have some form of periodontal disease, and certain populations are more vulnerable than others,” says Dr. Froum. “I commend the CDC for drawing attention to the disparities that exist within periodontal disease prevalence. These findings support a need for both local and national public health programs to improve the periodontal health of all adults, regardless of age, race or education.”

The AAP recommends that all patients receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation on an annual basis as a way to effectively assess for disease. “The insidious and sometimes asymptomatic nature of periodontal disease means that many patients may have periodontal disease, but do not know it. As dental professionals, it is crucial we ensure that our patients are being screened annually via a comprehensive periodontal evaluation to determine their disease status and treat accordingly.”

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