Gingivitis is a disease that can cause significant oral complications, including bad breath, bleeding gums and, potentially, loss of teeth. However, lack of knowledge of the problem has caused it to grow into a significant public health concern.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) suggests that previous accounts of the prevalence of gum disease and gingivitis may have underestimated the problem by as much as 50 percent, indicating that it may be far more common than previously thought.
Researchers examined the findings of a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and compared the results to those from previous surveys. They found that the prevalence of the gingivitis is dangerously high.
"Given what we know about the relationship between gum disease and other diseases, taking care of your oral health isn't just about a pretty smile," said Samuel Low, president of the AAC. "It has bigger implications for overall health, and is therefore a more significant public health problem."
He added that recent studies had connected gingivitis to an increased risk of heart disease, making it a serious health concern that could have major implications throughout the body.