Tooth loss may indicate our life expectancy, study reveals


How many teeth have you lost? New research suggests the number of teeth we have is a significant indicator of how long we will live.

Tooth loss can be used as a major predictor to somebody’s life expectancy, according to new research.

The research, published in the Periodontology 2000, found that the number of teeth we lose can be a key indicator to our quality of life and that those who have a full set of teeth when they are 74 are significantly more likely to reach 100 years old.

The study shows that there was clear evidence that tooth loss is closely related to ‘stress’ during a person’s lifetime.

This includes a person’s specific social, emotional, economic and educational experiences as well as health issues such as chronic disease, genetic conditions, nutritional intake and lifestyle choices.

Evidence showed that people who had lost five or more teeth by the age of 65 were also more likely to suffer from other serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis which could severely limit a person’s life expectancy. Many of these illnesses have been previously linked to as person’s quality of life and their socio-economic status.

With such a close relationship between our oral health and quality of life, leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, is encouraging people to ensure they pay close attention to the health of their mouth and visit their dental team regularly to check for any signs of disease which could lead to tooth loss.

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: ‘What this piece of research suggests is that tooth loss can often be a signifier of a poor quality of other areas of a person’s lifestyle and, therefore, a higher likelihood of someone having health issues because of this.

‘Importantly, it also shows that diseases associated with tooth loss, such as gum disease, can also contribute to an increased risk of life limiting diseases.’
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