Friends who tell you how easy it is to get use to dentures and
how they could eat anything, probably don't remember what it was like to adjust
to dentures and may have started with great bone and gum support.
Surgeon General's Report
states: 20 years ago 46% of older adults aged 65 and older were edentulous
(without their natural teeth) however only 30% are edentulous today.
Study links Tooth Loss, Heart Disease
A new study shows a
progressive association between tooth loss and
cardiovascular disease, even among nonsmokers.
According to December 2005 American Journal of
Preventive Medicine, researchers analyzed data from more
than 40,000 responders ages 40-79 in the 1999-2002
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Study.
Heart disease was found in
4.7 % of the respondents without tooth loss, 5.7% of those
missing 1-5 teeth, 7.5% missing 6-31 teeth and 8.5% with
total tooth loss. The finding after adjusting for sex,
race and ethnicity, education, marital status, diabetes,
smoking status, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure,
high blood cholesterol and body mass index and the
correlation between tooth loss and hart disease heal when
smoking status was considered. Smoking has strong
relationships to both tooth loss and heart disease.
Nonetheless, when this study stratified by age group and
smoking status, a significant association remained
between tooth loss and heart disease among respondents aged
40-59 years who have never smoked. These results
are consistent with previous studies that link gum disease
and tooth loss to an increased risk of atherosclerosis and
heart disease. ADA News pg 15, 1/06.
Does Tooth Loss
Affect Dietary Intake?
Since the primary function of teeth is
mastication, tooth loss can reduce chewing ability that
leads to detrimental changes in food selection. This, in
turn, may increase the risk of particular systemic diseases
since diet and certain health states, such as cardiovascular
health, are linked. For example, an increase in dietary
cholesterol and saturated fat, and a decrease in fiber have
been shown to elevate the risk of heart disease. Since a
large portion of the population has missing teeth, the
effect on health risks due to tooth loss may have a
In what is, no doubt, one of the largest studies
investigating a relationship between tooth loss and diet,
data were collected on dental status, and food and nutrient
intake from over 49,000 male professionals. After
adjusting for age, smoking, exercise and profession, it
was found that intake of vegetables, dietary fiber , crude
fiber, and carotene was significantly lower, while
intake of total calories, cholesterol and fat
was significantly higher in edentulous
participants compared to participants with 25 teeth or more.
In a follow-up study with the same cohort of professional
men, longitudinal analyses between tooth loss and
consumption of specific foods and nutrients were performed.
It was found that over an eight-year period, participants
without any tooth loss had greater reductions in daily
intake of saturated fat, cholesterol and vitamin B12, and
greater increases in daily intake of fiber, carotene and
fruits compared to participants with tooth loss. In
addition, subjects who lost five or more teeth were
significantly more likely to stop eating apples, pears and
carrots compared to subjects who lost four teeth or less.
These studies provide the best evidence to date for an
association between tooth loss and a change in food intake,
and suggest that it is advisable to incorporate dietary
evaluation and nutrition recommendations into dental visits
for patients with tooth loss to avoid the health risks of a
1. Hung HC, Willett W, Ascherio A, Rosner BA, Rimm E,
Tooth loss and dietary intake. JADA 2003;134(9):1185-1192.
2. Joshipura KJ, Willett WC, Douglass CW. The impact of
edentulousness on food and nutrient intake. JADA
3. Willett WC. Diet and health: What should we eat? Science
Quality of life = health,
While having life's cake
and being able to eat it comfortably is a goal we all share,
how much does losing teeth change the quality of life? Can we
manage with fewer teeth? Unstable prostheses? Loose dentures?
For that matter, how do dentures impact on lives? The
hypothesis that adults with teeth had a better oral
health-related quality of life than did adults without
teeth. All denture wearers expressed similar
dissatisfaction with their dentures when they first sought
treatment. Their complaints included looseness, pain beneath
the dentures, and difficulty eating with unstable dentures.
Most complained about mandibular dentures but not about their
maxillary dentures. While complaints by denture wearers
may be similar relative to their dental problems, their
psychological makeup and needs are quite different. Regardless
of treatment, patients with their own teeth reported the best
quality of life-outcomes. Patients who choose to replace
dentures with implants have a poor oral health-related quality
of life and that some of these issues remain post-treatment.
These issues may continue post-treatment, but to a lesser
extent. *Allen PF and McMillan AS:
A longitudinal study of the quality of life outcomes in older
adults requesting implant prostheses and complete removable
dentures. Clin Oral Impl Res 14:173-179, 2003.
* ADA Updates Sept 2001
"New findings call for more studies, new
**Journal of Canadian Dental Association 2002;68(3): 182-187