To be exact, the symptoms of gingivitis are not as serious as periodontitis. Which makes the findings in this study that much more disconcerting…
You may have read the title to this post, thought about the toothbrushing, xylitol gum chewing, flossing and tongue scraping you perform daily and answered with a resounding “YES!!” Statistically, though, if you answered this way, you were probably wrong.
There is absolutely no question that your oral health is related to your overall health. And the reverse is likely just as true–take care of your health and your teeth and gums will follow. As a quick example, consider smokers. Smokers are obviously missing the boat when it comes to good health. On the oral health side, smokers generally have very poor oral health and specifically, gum health.
But just how many of us have periodontal disease here in the US? The number may shock you.
In this particular report by the CDC published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the number of participants in the NHANES database from 2009-2010 with moderate to severe periodontitis were evaluated. Here’s what they found:
- 45% of adults aged 45–64 years had moderate or severe periodontitis (Tweet this).
- Broken out into race in that age group, the results were worse for Hispanic (59%) and non-Hispanic black adults (60%) compared with non-Hispanic white adults (39%).
- Among adults aged 65–74 years, 58% had moderate or severe periodontitis.
- Again, in this age group, Hispanics had higher rates of periodontitis (74%) compared with non-Hispanic whites (53%).
Overall, these numbers are pretty darn scary. Given the links between oral health and heart disease, this should be on the list of concerns for everyone.
So how do we take better care of our oral health? Here are my recommendations:
- Of course, make sure you stay current with your regular dental checkups.
- Overall positive lifestyle choices are critically important (my general recommendations can be found by clicking here).
- Regular tooth brushing (I personally use the Phillips Sonicare).
- Using xylitol based gum several times per day.
- Use a tongue scraper several times per week, if not daily.
What do you do to take care of your oral health?