According to new estimates published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), South Carolina is one of the worst states for gum disease in the US. This is bad news for South Carolinians, because it means that not only are our teeth at risk, but we could be in danger of all the secondary systemic effects of gum disease, such as heart problems, kidney disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and more.

The First-Ever Regional Study

These figures represent the first time that anyone has tried to analyze the distribution of gum disease across the US. This includes not just state-level data, but data looking at the prevalence of gum disease in specific communities.

Overall, researchers found that the highest levels of gum disease were located in the southeastern and southwestern states, with pockets of very high levels of gum disease along the Mississippi Delta, along the US-Mexico border, and in Native American reservations. They found that gum disease disproportionately affects ethnic minorities, tobacco users, individuals with lower income, and those living in areas where they just don’t have access to dental care.

According to the CDC’s estimates the states with the highest rates of gum disease among adults age 30 to 79 are:

  • New Mexico 52.79%
  • Hawaii 51.10 %
  • Florida 49.47%
  • Mississippi 49.22%
  • Texas 48.25%
  • Louisiana 48.21%
  • Nevada 47.84%
  • California 47.80%
  • South Carolina 47.78%
  • Arizona 47.73%

With nearly half of all South Carolinians experiencing gum disease, it’s clear we need to work harder to make sure all people have access to adequate dental care, and that people with access are actually utilizing dental care.

Gum Disease Can Be Expensive

Although many people avoid dental care in these areas because they think it might be too expensive, the truth is that it’s too expensive to not get dental care. For example, emergency room visits for dental care can be much more costly than regular dental care. Even if you’re prepared to sacrifice your teeth, thereby avoiding the more expensive restorative procedures you would need if you miss dental checkups, there are other medical costs associated with poor oral health. For example, people with coronary artery disease can expect to pay over $1000 more per year, pregnant women will pay over $2400 more per year, those with diabetes will pay over $2800 more per year, and those with cerebral vascular disease will pay nearly $5700 more per year if they also have untreated gum disease. $5700 pays for a lot of dental checkups.

Before you experience some of these negative costs associated with gum disease, we recommend preventive care. If you think you might have difficulty affording dental care, we offer flexible financing and payment options. If you are looking for a dentist in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry.