Gum Disease Facts

At a glance

Review facts and data about gum disease in the United States.

Fast facts

  • Gum (periodontal) disease is a broad term for conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis. These conditions involve infection and inflammation of the tissues (e.g., gum and bone) around the teeth.12
  • Gingivitis is the mildest type of gum disease—signs include red, swollen, or easily bleeding gums.1
  • Gingivitis is preventable and reversible with good oral hygiene (such as brushing twice daily and flossing daily) and professional treatment.1
  • Periodontitis is a more serious type of gum disease that involves bone loss around teeth. It can be managed and slowed down with professional treatment.12
  • Periodontitis is a leading cause of tooth loss.3
  • Tooth loss can lead to a poor diet, difficulty speaking, and a lower quality of life.4
  • Poor oral hygiene, diabetes, and smoking are all associated with having serious gum disease.567
  • Having a dental check-up at least yearly allows for early detection of gum disease, as well as treatment.1
  • Nearly half (42%) of all adults aged 30 years and older have periodontitis. Severe periodontitis affects about 8% of adults.7
  1. American Academy of Periodontology. Gum disease information. Accessed February 17, 2023.
  2. Page RC, Eke PI. Case definitions for use in population-based surveillance of periodontitis. J Periodontol. 2007;78(7 Suppl):1387–1399.
  3. Kassebaum NJ, Bernabé E, Dahiya M, Bhandari B, Murray CJ, Marcenes W. Global burden of severe tooth loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Dent Res. 2014;93(7 Suppl):20S–28S. doi:10.1177/0022034514537828
  4. Griffin SO, Jones JA, Brunson D, Griffin PM, Bailey WD. Burden of oral disease among older adults and implications for public health priorities. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(3):411–418.
  5. Theilade E, Wright WH, Jensen SB, Löe H. Experimental gingivitis in man. II. A longitudinal clinical and bacteriological investigation. J Periodontal Res. 1966;(1):1–13. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0765.1966.tb01842.x
  6. Simpson TC, Clarkson JE, Worthington HV, et al. Treatment of periodontitis for glycaemic control in people with diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022;4(4):CD004714.
  7. Eke PI, Thornton-Evans GO, Wei L, Borgnakke WS, Dye BA, Genco RJ. Periodontitis in US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2014. J Am Dent Assoc. 2018;149(7):576–588.