There are ways to treat these problems, of course, through periodontal treatment, dental implants, fillings, and more - but prevention is much to be desired over cure.
How Americans Rate Their Overall Oral Health
In a 2015 survey, only 30% of US adults reported the condition of their mouth as "very good." And only 15% of those from low income households said the same.
A full 20% admitted that they suffered from anxiety because of their admittedly poor oral health.
Additionally, oral health in children and in senior citizens was significantly worse than in the general population.
How Prevalent Is Gum Disease?
Between 15% and 20% of US adults have some stage of gum disease, ranging from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. But around fifty to seventy percent of all US adults age 30 and up have signs of gum disease beginning to develop.
Gum disease begins when bacteria colonies multiply on built up plaque on the gums and on the teeth at and below the gum line. Over time, the gums are eaten away by bacterial inflammation and the infection grows worse, causing bleeding of the gums, pain, bad oral odor, and ultimately tooth decay and/or tooth loss.
How Prevalent Are Cavities?
Cavities (caries) are a form of tooth decay, which can be prevented by regular brushing, flossing, and use of an antiseptic mouthwash. However, less than one in six Americans floss daily (16%) , and many (especially children) don't even brush every day.
Around 90% of Americans have had at least one cavity sometime during their life, and over a quarter of them have an untreated current cavity in their mouth.
Among children 6 to 8 years old, over 50% had cavities in primary teeth - which will of course be corrected when they get their secondary teeth but it reflects poor oral hygiene habits that could continue and ultimately damage their permanent teeth and their oral health as they go through life.
But there are improvements in cavity prevention as well, with communities where fluoride is added to the water supply seeing 25% fewer cavities. And many mobile dental units at schools are helping low income kids get fillings when they need them.
How Prevalent Is Tooth Loss?
Around half of Americans are missing at least one tooth, and some 40 million are missing all of them. About 30% of those between ages 65 and 75 have no natural teeth left.
Tooth loss is higher in seniors and in low income households. The most common causes are cavities, gum disease, and mouth trauma. A lack of oral health awareness also contributes indirectly by fostering lower levels of good oral care at home.
Many oral health problems are preventable via proper oral hygiene at home, regular dental/periodontal check-ups, avoiding high-sugar foods/drinks, quitting smoking cigarettes, and getting help quickly when dental problems are first discovered.
Find out more about how to maintain good oral health by contacting Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, FL, today!