News Release

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Information on Gum Disease Now Available on

Good oral health is key to quality of life. When your mouth is healthy, you can eat the foods you need for good nutrition and can feel better about smiling, talking, and laughing. However, periodontal (gum) disease — an infection of the gums and tissues that hold teeth in place — can harm oral health and is a leading cause of tooth loss among older adults. Because it’s an important topic for seniors, a section on gum disease has just been added to It’s the premier health and wellness website for older adults developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

"The new periodontal disease section on is an excellent source of easy-to-understand information that will help older people learn about periodontal disease and how they can prevent it," said Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., director of NIH's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. "Periodontal disease does not have to be a part of aging. Proper dental hygiene and regular dental visits can help people reduce their chance of developing periodontal disease as they age."

The information on gum disease can be found on the NIHSeniorHealth website at and also includes helpful illustrations on brushing and flossing techniques for people with less dexterity due to arthritis or other conditions.

Older Americans are increasingly turning to the Internet for health information. In fact, more than 70 percent of online seniors look for health and medical information when they go on the Web. NIHSeniorHealth (, which is based on the latest research on cognition and aging, features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a number of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and an audio version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include collecting your family health history, alcohol use among older adults and long-term care.

The NIDCR is the federal government's lead agency for scientific research on oral, dental and craniofacial health and disease. For more information, visit the Web site at

The NLM is the world's largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. For more information, visit the Web site at

The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on research and aging, go to

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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