It’s time to take gum disease seriously

Periodontitis is the 6th most common disease in the world and the treatment of dental diseases accounts for 4.6% of global health expenditure!

It’s time to take gum disease seriously

On May 12, we celebrate World Healthy Gum Day – this is an opportunity to pay attention to the issue of gum health and hygiene. On this occasion, the Polish Society of Periodontology organized a press conference during which experts presented new studies on the risk factors of periodontal diseases, especially in the context of the consumption of conventional and electronic cigarettes, and discussed the social and economic consequences of not treating these diseases. .

Periodontal disease – a common and costly problem

According to the World Health Organization, serious periodontal disease affects approximately 14% of the adult population, or more than one billion cases worldwide.[1] Such a magnitude of the problem requires, above all, huge financial outlays for treatment – treatment costs due to dental diseases worldwide have been estimated at 298 billion dollars per year, which corresponds to 4.6% of global healthcare spending on average and ranks dental disease third today the most expensive disease, after diabetes and cardiovascular disease.[2]

Periodontal diseases develop from gingivitis, which is the most common, in about 95% of cases, caused by plaque, called biofilm, which is got rid of by brushing your teeth. Prevention in this situation is therefore… on a daily basis, good oral hygiene!

So good oral health habits such as:

– teeth cleaning at least twice a day

– daily dental floss

– regular visits to the dentist

– reduce the consumption of simple sugars

– eliminate nicotine addiction, are an excellent prophylaxis and support the treatment of periodontal diseases “ – said the prof. dr hab. not. med Renata Górska, national consultant in the field of periodontology and president of the Polish Society of Periodontology.

Prophylaxis for savings

The prevention of gum disease is a key element in reducing the very high costs of treating these diseases. According to data presented at the PTP conference Eliminating gingivitis, which is a precursor to periodontal disease, and increasing the rate of diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease to 90% provides a positive return on investment in 10 years – savings can be estimated between 8 and 32 billion euros!2

“The costs to society of periodontal disease are enormous and include economic, treatment or absenteeism aspects, as well as social aspects, such as pain, speech difficulties and low self-esteem in people with with periodontitis. Meanwhile, the solution to the problem is literally at hand: good hygiene and prophylaxis is by far the most cost effective way to treat periodontal disease in society – says Beata Golan, MD, dentist and head of research at P&G Polska.

Conventional and electronic cigarettes and gum health

In Poland, 21% of the population, or about 9 million people, admit to smoking cigarettes daily.[3] Despite the downward trend in smoking, which has been observed for several years, it still represents a very high proportion of the population. Especially since in the context of the negative effects of smoking, people who smoke occasionally and who are passive smokers must also be taken into account. In addition to diseases of the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems and the development of cancers, which are generally associated with the negative effects of smoking, it also has a significant impact on the teeth and gums.

Smoking and inhaling cigarette smoke cause thermal, chemical and mechanical damage to the oral cavity. As a result, the teeth of smokers develop unsightly stains and deposits on which plaque accumulates, which leads to the development of inflammations and more serious diseases, namely caries and periodontitis. “Smoking is an important and independent risk factor associated with the development and severity of periodontal disease. Periodontitis is 5 to 20 times more common in smokers than in non-smokersand both active and passive smokers are more prone to more severe symptoms of periodontitis” – says Maciej Nowak, Ph.D., provincial consultant in the field of periodontology and general secretary of the Polish Society of Periodontology.

In the context of periodontal diseases, the so-called electronic cigarettes. In the light of modern scientific research, systems that allow the use of tobacco without burning it, such as e-cigarettes or popular tobacco heaters, are less harmful to health. – adds Maciej Nowak, MD, PhD. However, we must remember that the e-cigarette is only a half measure, and for our teeth and gums it would be better to stop smoking completely. “At this time, e-cigarettes cannot be said to be harmless. There are increasing reports that chronic e-cigarette use may have a negative impact on health. Therefore, further research studies are needed to understand the impact of e-cigarettes on the human body and whether they can be a method of combating tobacco addiction” – notes Dr hab. not. med. Jan Kowalski, head of the Department of Periodontal and Mucosal Diseases at the Medical University of Warsaw.

Healthy Gum Day 2022

This year’s Healthy Gum Day celebrations included a press conference titled “It’s Time to Take Gum Disease Seriously.” He was followed by: Teacher. dr hab. not. med Renata Górska, National consultant in the field of periodontology, president of the Polish Society of Periodontology. Member of the American Academy of Periodontology and of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), dr hab. not. med. Jan KowalskiHead of Department of Periodontal and Mucosal Diseases, Medical University of Warsaw, Member of the Board of Directors of the Polish Society of Periodontology, Coordinator of Healthy Gum Day of the European Federation of Periodontology on behalf of the Polish Society of periodontology, Maciej Nowak, MD, Ph.D.provincial consultant in the field of periodontics, general secretary of the Polish Society of Periodontology, member of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and of the periodontology section of the Polish Dental Society (PTS) and Beata Golan, MD, and research director at P&G Polska.


[2] The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2021, The Societal and Economic Impact of Periodontitis. It’s time to take gum disease seriously. Search for 6 European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Great Britain.

[3] Report of a national survey on attitudes towards smoking, SIG 2019

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