Consumer research (1) by a well known brand of chlorhexidine mouthwash, in which 2000 UK adults were surveyed, found that permanent tooth loss was one of their worst fears. 51% the of adults surveyed said tooth loss would have the biggest impact on their confidence, leaving weight gain far behind (19%) as well as bad skin (10%). Unfortunately this same report showed that many people in the UK don’t know enough about periodontitis, which, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. It seems the Brits don’t actually care about their periodontal health per se. Virtually half of those surveyed (48%) said that healthy looking gums are not as important as other elements of their mouth’s appearance or health. To make matters worse, less than one-fifth (18%) of the surveyed population said that they would visit their dentist if they had gum problems.
This news comes at a time when various important epidemiological surveys are finding much more periodontal disease in developed countries than was previously thought. UK statistics (2) suggest that up to 45% of the population has at least one periodontal pocket measuring 4mm or deeper, while data from the United States states that 47.2% of Americans have periodontitis. In the group of adults aged 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1%. Older studies used partial mouth recording or recording of index teeth only to generate rapid assessment of as many individuals as possible. The more recent studies have performed full periodontal examinations, ensuring that they were more likely to pick up a more detailed and comprehensive picture of the disease.
1. Corsodyl consumer research conducted in July 2012, which surveyed 2,000 adults aged 18+ in the UK.
2. O’Sullivan, D Lader (eds). 1. Oral health and function – a report from the Adult Dental Health Survey 2009. The Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2011. Pg 6.
3. P.I. Eke, B.A. Dye, L. Wei, G.O. Thornton-Evans, and R.J. Genco. Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. J DENT RES 0022034512457373, first published on August 30, 2012 as doi:10.1177/0022034512457373