Healthy Living

Gum Disease May Appear in Young Adults

Gum Disease May Appear in Young Adults

According to a study conducted by the researchers from dentistry school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gum disease may start earlier than expected. Young adults should take better care of their oral health, as it may lead to many health problems. The study shows that gum disease in young adults may be asymptomatic and may even lead to premature deliveries in pregnant women who are affected.

The results of the study, published in the annual meeting of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, show that in some cases, gum disease may start when people are still in their twenties without any obvious symptoms.

In this study, about 300 young adults around 20-years-old who wanted to keep their wisdom teeth, were recruited. Many of these participants had gum disease around their wisdom teeth, without any symptoms and it worsened after two years. Raymond White Jr., DDS, PhD., a former UNC dean and Dalton L. Michael Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, says that the results were quite unexpected.

There is a general belief that gum problems do not occur until an individual is at least 35-years-old or 40-years-old. The results showed that about a quarter of the participants who were 20-years-old had gum disease. Most of the dentists recommend the removal of wisdom teeth if they are affected by gum disease. “People who want to keep their wisdom teeth that are affected by gum disease will be able to do so only with aggressive treatment."

Periodontal disease is linked with a number of health conditions, like heart disease, and also with a higher risk of preterm birth and other issues. Researchers also looked at the odds of premature birth in about 1,000 pregnant women. About 50% of them were referred to a university clinic due to high-risk pregnancies. Out of these, about 13% had moderate to severe gum disease at the start of the study.

About 18% of the participants had premature delivery, which is more than twice the risk estimated for normal woman. Women who had the most severe form of gum disease had the highest risk of preterm delivery. But the same may not be true in women with less risky pregnancies. Researchers note that it might be the inflammation in the gum disease that might make preterm delivery more common. According to them all women of child bearing age should be aware of this risk.