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Study Shows Southeast and Southwest Most Prevalent for Periodontal Disease

For decades, researchers have been performing studies to get a better understanding of the effects of periodontal disease and how periodontal disease impacts other health issues. But, while these studies have shown links between gum disease and a variety other bodily diseases, there had yet to be a study that narrowed down regions in the United States where periodontal disease has hit the hardest. That is until recently.

The Study

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their results of a study that was published by the Journal of Dental Research which compared the prevalence of periodontal disease in states and counties. The study found that the disease was more prevalent in the southern states than the northern states, especially along the Mississippi Delta, the United States-Mexico border, and on Native American reservations. The results of the study provide dental professionals with the necessary information on where more attention is needed in regards to the disease and confirms previous studies about the disease.

The purpose of the CDC conducting this study was to see which local areas within the United States were more prevalent when it came to gum disease. To answer this question, the organization used a small-area estimation method and extended their analysis to multi level for adults aged 30 to 79 at state, county, district, and census tract levels.


The study found that of the top ten states that are most prevalent in periodontal disease, eight were either southeastern states or bordered Mexico. The other two were Nevada, which is still considered a southwestern state, and Hawaii, the anomaly of the group.

Notable were the disparities between the highest and lowest states on the list. The state that was most prevalent to periodontal disease, New Mexico at 52.79 percent, had a rate that was 15 percent higher than the lowest state on the list, Utah at 37.69 percent. The disparity between counties was even higher at 34 percent, 33.7 percent for the lowest and 68 percent for the highest, when it came to the estimated percentage of periodontal disease nationwide.

While severe periodontal disease is not as widespread as the disease in general, the trend of where it’s more prevalent remains true. The study shows severe periodontal disease to be more prevalent in the southeastern states and the southwestern states of the country. The state where the disease is most prevalent is Louisiana at 11.3 percent and it is least prevalent in New Hampshire at 6.4 percent. The disparity in severe periodontal disease in states was at 4.9 percent while the disparity in counties was at 12.7 percent, ranging from 5.2 percent to 17.9 percent.

The study also came up with nationwide numbers of periodontal disease. It found that 45.1 percent of residents in states and 46.6 percent of residents in counties had some form of periodontal disease.

Confirming a Hypothesis

For years, various studies have been linking periodontal disease with more severe diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. This study found that the regions that ranked the highest for periodontitis were also the states that ranked the highest in terms of residents that suffered from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This finding gives more credence to the hypothesis that periodontal disease, in fact, does have a major impact on diseases that are considered more severe.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is caused by poor oral hygiene and is a disease that can be avoid by brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting your dentist every six months for a regularly scheduled cleaning. Symptoms that include bleeding gums may indicate that you have periodontal disease. The good news is that this disease is treatable and often reversible with the help of a board certified periodontist.

Studies over the years have shown links between periodontal disease and other, more serious diseases, but this recent study by the CDC shows which areas of the country are more susceptible to contracting periodontal disease. This study are consistent with many of the previous studies as it shows that the areas with a higher percentage of residents with periodontal disease are also the areas with a higher percentage of residents with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you think you may have periodontal disease, come to Vero Implants and Periodontics for treatment.