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Brand Reach >> Gum Disease Rampant in US, Inflicts Half of Adults 30 and Older

Visiting a dentist twice a year can prevent gum disease.
It’s a statistic that has put frowns on the faces of dental professionals across the country. Nearly 65 million people in the United States are suffering from gum disease. That translates to about half of all adults 30 and older, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

Oxford periodontist, Dr. Brenda Fowler, examines a patient for gum disease.
Oxford periodontist, Dr. Brenda Fowler, examines a patient for gum disease.

And those sufferers also are putting their lives in danger.
“Periodontal disease has an effect on nearly every system of the body,” said Dr. Michael Perry, a north Mississippi periodontist in Oxford and Southaven.
“It is a very serious, but often overlooked health issue,” added Perry. “With more Americans suffering from this disease than diabetes, the AAP created ‘Love the Gums You’re With’ to educate the public on the importance of prevention and early diagnosis of periodontal disease.”
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth that form plaque below the gum line, Perry said, noting that there are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in plaque, and brushing alone does not remove the bacteria from the gum line.
The disease typically does not cause pain until it’s in an advanced stage. At that point, Perry said, “Much of the damage has been done. Evidence has existed for more than 30 years regarding oral health, the periodontium and its link to pneumonia, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and many other life-altering diseases. The strain this infection puts on the immune system affects nearly every system in the body.”
The disease causes receding gums, bone damage in the mouth and loss of teeth. It also can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and even some cancers, Perry said.
Dr. Michael Perry of North MS Periodontics.
Dr. Michael Perry of North MS Periodontics.

The AAP prevention program encourages people to brush their teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day and get a comprehensive exam from a dental professional once a year.
To learn more about the disease, individuals can take a brief quiz at perio.org to evaluate their gum health, learn the signs and symptoms, and receive tips on how to properly care for their gums.
“The risk factors for periodontal disease are prevalent in Mississippi, therefore, the number of patients with periodontal disease is actually higher than in many other states,” said Perry. “Mississippi has such a high rate of heart attacks and heart disease, good hygiene and oral care is paramount in preventing these diseases. I believe the first approach for patients to be diagnosed for these diseases are at your dental hygiene visit with your dentist.”
“If you think that you have periodontal disease, you need to be seen by your dentist as soon as possible. A thorough, comprehensive evaluation by the patient’s dentist can lead to an early diagnosis and can make treatment easier and less costly,” said Perry. “If the patient has advanced forms of this disease, the patient’s dentist can make a referral to the periodontist. If the patient already knows he or she has the disease but has been delaying treatment, they can call the periodontist directly. The bone loss associated with periodontal disease can many times affect the patient’s restorative care options.”
For more on periodontal disease and prevention, visit drmichaelperry.com.
Risk Factor for Periodontal Disease:
Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that more than 70 percent of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis.
Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.

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