Gum disease by the numbers

Woman flossing her teeth

Gum (or periodontal) disease is one of the leading threats to dental health. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build up on teeth and harden.

In its early stage, the gums can become red, swollen, and may bleed easily. That’s called gingivitis. In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. This can cause loss of the bone that holds teeth in place, and eventually tooth loss.

To help prevent or control gum disease, it is important to brush daily and floss regularly. Also, make sure to see your dentist for routine checkups.

Almost half, 47.2%, of all adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease.

Gum disease increases with age. 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is more common in men than women. 56.4% vs 38.4%

Smoking can put you at risk for gum problems. In fact, 64.2% of current smokers have gum disease.  

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