Periodontal Disease in Adults (Age 20 to 64)

Overall, the prevalence of periodontal (gum) disease in adults has decreased from the early 1970s until the latest (1999-2004) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In spite of this improvement, significant disparities remain in some population groups.

Tables 1 and 2 present information about periodontal disease for adults age 20 to 64 years and for selected population groups.

The research definitions of periodontal disease are not necessarily the same as the common definition of gum disease, which may include both gingivitis (inflammation of the gums without any loss of bone and tissue) and periodontitis (as defined below):

For the purposes of epidemiological research, periodontal disease is defined very specifically. For a person to have periodontal disease, he or she must have at least one periodontal site with 3 millimeters or more of attachment loss and 4 millimeters or more of pocket depth. Moderate periodontal disease is defined as having at least two teeth with interproximal attachment loss of 4 millimeters or more OR at least two teeth with 5 millimeters or more of pocket depth at interproximal sites. Severe periodontal disease is defined as having at least two teeth with interproximal attachment loss of 6 millimeters or more AND at least one tooth with 5 millimeters or more of pocket depth at interproximal sites.

Prevalence of Periodontal Disease (Table 1)

  • 8.52% of adults age 20 to 64 have periodontal disease.
  • Older adults, Black and Hispanic adults, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have periodontal disease.

Prevalence of Severe Periodontal disease (Table 2)

  • 5.08% of adults 20 to 64 have moderate or severe periodontal disease.
  • Older adults, Black and Hispanic adults, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have moderate/severe periodontal disease.

 

Table 1: Adults, Prevalence of Periodontal Disease

Prevalence of periodontal disease among adults age 20 to 64 years of age, by selected characteristics:
United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004

Characteristic Percent with periodontal disease*
Age  
20 to 34 years 3.84
35 to 49 years 10.41
50 to 64 years 11.88
Sex  
Male 10.65
Female 6.40
Race and Ethnicity  
White, non-Hispanic 5.82
Black, non-Hispanic 16.81
Mexican American 13.76
Poverty Status (Income compared to Federal Poverty Level)  
Less than 100% 13.95
100% to 199% 15.34
Greater than 200% 5.96
Education  
Less than High School 17.33
High School 9.34
More than High School 5.78
Smoking History  
Current Smoker 14.74
Former Smoker 7.61
Never Smoked 5.94
Overall 8.52

Data Source: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been an important source of information on oral health and dental care in the United States since the early 1970s. Tables 1 through 4 present the latest NHANES (collected between 1999 and 2004) data regarding periodontal disease in adults.

* Periodontal disease is defined as having at least one periodontal site with 3 millimeters or more of attachment loss and 4 millimeters or more of pocket depth.

Table 2: Adults, Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Periodontal Disease

Severity of periodontal disease among adults age 20 to 64 years of age, by selected characteristics:
United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004

Characteristic Percentage with moderate or severe periodontal disease*
Age  
20 to 34 years (not enough data)
35 to 49 years 5.00
50 to 64 years 10.73
   
Sex  
Male 6.74
Female 3.46
   
Race and Ethnicity  
White, non-Hispanic 4.15
Black, non-Hispanic 8.30
Mexican American 6.43
   
Poverty Status (Income compared toFederal Poverty Level)  
Less than 100% 9.92
100% to 199% 9.42
Greater than 200% 3.50
   
Education  
Less than High School 11.64
High School 5.65
More than High School 3.11
   
Smoking History  
Current Smoker 11.14
Former Smoker 4.62
Never Smoked 2.34
   
Overall 5.08

Data Source: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been an important source of information on oral health and dental care in the United States since the early 1970s. Tables 1 through 4 present the latest NHANES (collected between 1999 and 2004) data regarding periodontal disease in adults.

* Using the CDC-AAP definition of moderate and severe periodontitis: Moderate periodontal disease is defined as having at least two teeth with interproximal attachment loss of 4 millimeters or more OR at least two teeth with 5 millimeters or more of pocket depth at interproximal sites. Severe periodontal disease is defined as having at least two teeth with interproximal attachment loss of 6 millimeters or more AND at least one tooth with 5 millimeters or more of pocket depth at interproximal sites.

Last Reviewed on
February 2018