As a periodontist, I am quite pleased that Governor Quinn proclaimed February as Gum Disease Awareness Month. The proclamation reads like a poem to a periodontist. It clearly states many facts about gum disease and why its important to have the condition treated. I hope to have the proclamation posted on my website in the near future. Another interesting development is the publication of the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This ongoing study for the first time included a comprehensive periodontal examination. No surprise to me the prevalence of gum disease is greater than past estimates. On average half of the adult population has some form of gum disease. In adults over 60, men, smokers,and minorities the prevalence is over 50 percent.
These two developments, the proclamation and the NHANES study, seem to have come out at the same time. I’m using this time to seriously market the need for awareness, proper examinations and treatment. This is a perfect time to promote a very important part of the Dental Dream Team’s care. Not only do we make beautiful smiles, we are also very aware of the health needs of our community. The population we serve has health issues all tied together so treating one effects the other and can improve overall health. Diabetes, hypertension, and smoking are the main conditions that relate to the the infection in the mouth known as gum disease. Some studies are also showing a relationship of gum disease to cancers, erectile dysfunction, and a host of other ailments. The size of the studies and design of the study prevent a clear causal relationship, nevertheless the results do warrant further study.