Sunday, July 21, 2024

Millions of U.S. Adults Have Gum Disease, But New Survey Shows Many Don’t Know It

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(BPT) - Gum disease. Nearly half of all U.S. adults over 30 years old (or nearly 65 million people) have it1. However, only 16% of adults 30+ (referred to as “consumers” throughout) report having been diagnosed, according to a new national study from OraPharma conducted by The Harris Poll – which means that millions of Americans may have the lifelong condition without realizing it.

What’s more, the same survey revealed that 91% of consumers incorrectly believed or are not sure whether gum disease is curable, when in fact, gum disease cannot be cured, only managed through ongoing monitoring and treatment as needed. With gum disease, more frequent dental visits may be required because it is a chronic, lifelong bacterial infection.

Considering the misunderstandings surrounding gum disease, recognizing its symptoms and learning how it can be managed is key to having informed conversations with a dentist or hygienist.

Below is an overview of key findings from the survey and how consumers can (and should) leverage these insights to close the awareness gap in oral hygiene.

Know the Signs

Understanding the signs of gum disease is a crucial first step to preventing the potentially severe consequences that can arise from it, such as damage to the soft tissue and bone that support teeth, and even tooth loss. Gum disease may be associated with an increased risk for other chronic conditions throughout the body, such as cardiovascular disease.

The recent survey revealed that around a third of consumers (33%) don’t know all the symptoms of gum disease. In fact, 92% of dentists agreed that they wished their patients would come to them sooner when experiencing gum disease symptoms. If any of the below symptoms are noticed, it’s important to talk to a dentist or hygienist.

  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth looseness or loss

Have the Right Conversations

The survey also revealed a disconnect between gum health conversations reported by dentists and hygienists and those reported by consumers during appointments. Case in point: While a staggering 90% of dentists and hygienists report discussing gum health during at least half of their dental appointments, only 62% of consumers who visit the dentist say the same.

These survey findings reveal that both consumers and dentists/hygienists can benefit from improved conversations during dental appointments. However, having the right conversation can be hard, especially when unaware of what questions to ask. To help with this, OraPharma has developed a dentist discussion guide to help consumers navigate the conversation at their next dentist appointment.

Go to aboutgumdisease.com and download a gum health discussion guide, designed to help consumers understand exactly what they should be discussing with their dental care providers to protect their gum health.

References

1.Eke PI, Dye BA, Wei L, Thornton-Evans GO, Genco RJ. Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. Journal of Dental Research. 2012;91(10):914-920. doi:10.1177/0022034512457373

ORA.0076.USA.24

Source: Bausch Health


Method Statement for Consumer Research

The research was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of OraPharma among 1,004 U.S. adults age 30+ (“consumers”). The survey was conducted February 13-26, 2024.

Data are weighted where necessary by age by gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, employment, household income, and political party affiliation to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 3.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including, but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

Method Statement for Dental Healthcare Provider Research

The research was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of OraPharma among 404 Dental Healthcare Professionals (“DHCPs”), including 201 Dentists (with no specialty or a periodontist specialty) and 203 Dental Hygienists, age 18+ who practice in the U.S., are licensed in the state where they practice, have been in practice for at least 1 year, do not primarily see pediatric patients, and see at least 5 patients with periodontal disease weekly. The survey was conducted February 13-27, 2024.

Data for both Dentists and Dental Hygienists are each weighted where necessary by age by gender to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Data for Dentists and Dental Hygienists were then combined using a post weight proportional to the population size to create a total for DHCPs.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 5.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including, but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

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