Severe periodontitis is the advanced stage of periodontal (gum) disease that causes irreversible damage to the bone and tissue supporting your teeth. Researchers have long recognized the prevalence of this disease in American adults. However, a paper titled, “Global Burden of Periodontisis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression” suggests that this problem may be bigger than we originally thought on a global level.
The paper was published by The International and American Dental Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) in the OnlineFirst portion of the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR). The purpose of the study was to consolidate all epidemiological data about severe periodontitis and to produce prevalence and incidence estimates for all countries for 1990 and 2010. A total of 72 qualifying studies involving 291,170 individuals aged 15 years of older from 37 countries were included in the meta-regression using resources from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 Study. Among other important findings, the study found that severe periodontitis is the sixth most prevalent health condition in the world. This is problematic as severe periodontitis often leads to tooth loss as well as loss of the bone and tissue that is vital in supporting many tooth replacement options, including dental implants.
The findings of this study only serve to underscore the enormous health challenge posed by severe periodontitis. It also highlights the importance of dental hygiene and education. Gums that are red, swollen and/or bleed easily are signs of periodontal disease. If it is treated properly in the first stages of the disease (gingivitis), it is possible to arrest the progression before it progresses to severe periodontitis. Once it progresses to the most severe stage, irreversible damage to the bone and tissue surrounding the teeth may have already taken place. Therefore, if you have any signs or symptoms of periodontal disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.