According to a recently updated study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63% percent of Hispanic adults in the United States have periodontitis. The study findings were published in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Journal of Periodontology.

The study, titled “Update on Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: NHANES 2009-2012,” also reports that non-Hispanic Blacks have a 59% percent prevalence rate of periodontitis, followed by Asian-American adults with a prevalence rate of 50%. Regarding age groups, periodontal disease is present in 68% of US adults age 65 and over. Additionally, the study confirms early contentions that approximately half of all US adults age 30 and over—64.7 million Americans—suffer from periodontitis.

This data emerges from the CDC’s and AAP’s collaboration on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The study is based on full-mouth periodontal examination data collected as part of the 2009-2012 NHANES surveillance. Previous prevalence estimates relied on NHANES data collected from 2009 through 2010.

According to CDC epidemiologist and lead study author Paul Eke, PhD, MPH, “The updated findings verify a high burden of periodontitis in the US adult population. Public health programs that aim to prevent and control periodontitis are needed to improve the overall health of our adult population.”

“Periodontal disease remains a significant public health issue for people of all backgrounds,” said Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, president of the AAP and a practicing periodontist in Los Angeles. “However, with proper treatment and care from a periodontist, periodontal disease is often reversible. A full-mouth periodontal evaluation is the most accurate way to assess for disease. These findings support the need for all adults age 30 and over to receive an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dental professional to identify and treat periodontal disease as needed.”

The AAP encourages all adults to undergo a yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluation to assess their periodontal disease risk and to treat disease if it is present. AAP guidelines indicate that the evaluations are to include both probing depth and attachment-loss measurements.