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About Half of US Adults Have Gum Disease

Update Date: Sep 14, 2012 08:34 AM EDT

According to a new study, about half of U.S. adults (aged 30 and above) have gum disease, and apparently the rate is higher among senior citizens.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative study on more than 3,700 adults and found that about 47 percent of them had periodontitis (an infection of the gums and a major cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the American Dental Association). While 9 percent of them were found to have mild gum disease, 30 percent suffer from moderate levels and 8.5 percent are at severe levels of the disease, Health Day reported.

The study statistics indicate that a total of about 65 million adults in the U.S. have gum disease, according to the Journal of Dental Research.

Also, 64 percent of adults (65 years and above) had either moderate or severe periodontitis.

According to study lead author Paul Eke of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers are much higher than previous national estimates.

Other revelations of the study indicate that males, Mexican Americans, people educated below high school, people below poverty line and smokers have the highest rates of gum disease.

According to the American Dental Association website, some signs of gum disease include painless bleeding of the gums, red, swollen and tender gums, and gums that seem to be pulling away from the teeth, apart from chronic bad breath or bad taste, the report said.

The recent studies have associated poor brushing habits and gum diseases with increased risks of early death from cancer and risk of Dementia.

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research Aug. 30.

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