New Study: Periodontal Disease High in Southern States

Dentist reaching for dental mirror behind model tooth and dental tartar scraper on table

The Journal of Dental Research recently published a study estimating how widespread periodontal (gum) disease is at state and local levels in the United States. In the study, southern states in the U.S. were estimated to have the highest prevalence of gum disease.


Here’s what you need to know about the study and how you can protect your dental health.


What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is an inflammatory disease that can lead to the destruction of the soft and hard structures that support the teeth.


Bacteria in your mouth constantly form a film over your teeth called “plaque.” A good dental care routine helps remove the plaque and bacteria in your mouth.


Plaque that you don’t remove hardens to tartar, a substance that can be removed only by a professional dental cleaning. The bacteria in plaque and tartar cause your gums to become inflamed; your gums become red and swollen, and easily bleed. This beginning stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.


Gingivitis is reversible with a dental cleaning and a daily dental care routine.


If you don’t treat gingivitis, your gums will begin to pull away from your teeth and form pockets that become infected. As plaque grows and spreads below your gum line, your body responds by breaking down the bone and connective tissue holding your teeth in place.


As the disease progresses, your jaw bone and connective tissues are destroyed, leaving your teeth loose. At this point, your teeth will need to be removed.


Illustration comparing a mouth with healthy teeth to a mouth with teeth with plaque and tartar and periodontal disease


The Study

In the study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed adults ages 30 to 79 at different levels, including state level.


Using the information gathered, researchers estimated “periodontitis prevalence” in each state. In other words, researchers estimated the percentage of the population in each state with some form of periodontal disease.


The Findings

The study found that the states with the highest estimated levels of periodontal disease were primarily located in the southern areas of the United States.


The top 10 states with the highest percentages of periodontitis prevalence include:

  • New Mexico (52.79%)
  • Hawaii (51.10%)
  • Florida (49.47%)
  • Mississippi (49.22%)
  • Texas (48.25%)
  • Louisiana (48.21%)
  • Nevada (47.84%)
  • California (47.80%)
  • South Carolina (47.78%)
  • Arizona (47.73%)


Illustration map of the United State of America in different shades of blue


The CDC estimates that Texas has the 5th highest level of periodontal disease among the state’s population.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Nearly half of all U.S. adults ages 30 to 79 have some form of periodontal disease
  • Utah and New Hampshire have the lowest rates of prevalence
  • The national average of periodontitis prevalence is 45.1% of adults ages 30 to 79


Protect Your Teeth and Your Gums

The most effective way to protect your mouth from periodontal disease is through a good dental care routine: brush your teeth twice day, floss once a day, and visit the dentist every six months for a professional teeth cleaning.


Floss toothbrush and toothpaste


For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with the best dental care.