The Impact of Oral Disease

In recent years, new scientific reports have linked poor oral health to poor general health.

  • Dental decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic illnesses among children. Although most dental diseases are preventable, many children unnecessarily suffer from dental disease because of inadequate home care, and lack of access to dental services.
    • An estimated 51 million school hours per year are lost in the U.S. because of dental-related illness.
    • Poor oral health has been related to decreased school performance, poor social relationships and less success later in life.
  • Oral diseases, even in adults, can affect one's overall health, one's ability to eat healthy food, and one's ability to get and keep a job. Several reports link low-grade infection in the mouth (periodontal disease) to systemic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases (heart disease), respiratory ailments (pulmonary or lung disease), and poor pregnancy outcomes (babies born too small and too soon). Persons with diabetes are also at increased risk for periodontal infections.
    • Employed adults in the United States lose more than 164 million hours of work each year as a result of oral health problems or dental visits.
    • About 30 percent of adults 65 years old and older have lost all of their natural teeth.
    • Older Americans with the poorest oral health are those who are economically disadvantaged, lack insurance and are members of racial and ethnic minorities.
    • As the nation ages, oral health issues related to gum disease and the impact of medical treatments and medicines will increase.

Maintaining good oral health throughout a person's life is important.

Further Information on Impact of Oral Health Disease