Periodontal disease, characterized by receding gums, wobbly teeth, and deterioration of the jawbone, is the primary culprit in tooth loss among older adults. It gets started when plaque builds up in the shallow trough between the tooth and the gum.
For seniors, tooth loss is a natural occurrence that comes with the territory of aging. Of course, lifetime dental hygiene habits will play a large role in preventing tooth loss in seniors, but there are other causes of tooth loss than hygiene.
Periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Injuries and oral-dental trauma may also cause tooth loss. Risk factors for tooth loss include poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, dry mouth, gum disease (gingivitis) and some prescription medications.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by age 50, most Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth. The full adult dentition consists of 32 teeth. That means by age 50 you can expect to have 37% fewer teeth.
Average Teeth Per Age Group
For Americans aged between 20 and 34, the average is just under 27 teeth (26.90) remaining. By the time you hit 49 years, you are feasibly down to 25.05 teeth on average. Once you get to 64, you are pretty average if you have around 22 (22.30) teeth still in your mouth.
Among adults from 35 to 44-years-old, 69 percent have lost at least one permanent tooth. By age 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth (including wisdom teeth). And among adults 65 to 74, 26 percent have lost all their teeth.
Seniors 65 years and older have an average of 20.7 remaining teeth. Older seniors, Black and Hispanic seniors, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education have fewer remaining teeth.
If a tooth is loose because of gum disease, it might tighten back up with consistent and proper dental hygiene. A deep cleaning with a hygienist called Scaling & Root Planing is typically the best treatment option. If a tooth is loose because of an injury, it likely won't tighten back up.
Today, three-quarters of people over 65 retain at least some of their natural teeth, but older people still suffer higher rates of gum disease, dental decay, oral cancer, mouth infections, and tooth loss.
Did you know that there is a link between tooth loss and dementia? Research shows that people with dental problems like missing teeth are more likely to develop dementia later in life. Replacing lost or damaged teeth may also decrease the risk of developing cognitive decline later in life.
According to the American Dental Association, there are approximately 57% of people ages 65 to 74 wearing some form of denture.
Because of the way chronic stress impairs your immune system, it can lead to chronically inflamed gums, which leads to gum disease. The damage to your gums that chronic stress causes can loosen up the foundations holding your teeth in place, damage the supporting bone, and result in tooth loss.
If your teeth are falling out, try to save them and contact your dentist immediately. They'll be able to determine the exact cause of your tooth loss and provide you with ways you can restore your teeth. This can include dentures, dental implants, and bridges.
Periodontal disease is not a life-threatening condition. However, it might require you to seek treatments from various medical professionals when the bacteria from the infection spread to your bloodstream to affect your overall health.
Nearly 1 in 5 of adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth. Complete tooth loss is twice as prevalent among adults aged 75 and older (26%) compared with adults aged 65-74 (13%).
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2010, 21% of adults over 65 years of age had no natural teeth. Nearly half [47%] of those 65 years and over, who still had some of their own natural teeth, wore dentures.
Make it to 94 with all your own teeth intact? You're a record-breaker. Which is precisely what Frank Medina of Stockton, CA has done. According to Ripley's Believe it or Not, Frank Medina is the “oldest man in the world with all his teeth who has never had a cavity."
Academy Award-winning actor and director Ben Affleck wore a full set of dentures at one point in his career. Eventually, he switched to crowns or implants.
From a professional standpoint, dental implants are better than dentures because they maintain the anatomic and aesthetic structure of your face, mouth and jawbones. Also, dental implants are more comfortable because they can eliminate denture pain and irritation in the gums.
The idea that everyone ends up with dentures when they get older is a misconception. Not everyone loses their natural teeth. In fact, if you take good care of your teeth, they should last your entire life. If you want to lower your chances of needing dentures later in life, you need to practice proper oral hygiene now.
During their analysis, the researchers also found that for every missing tooth, there was a 1.4 percent increased risk of cognitive impairment. For dementia, each missing tooth added a 1.1 percent increased risk.
Background: There is a dose-response relationship between tooth loss and cognitive impairment, while tooth loss can be an independent risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD). Tooth loss can also accelerate nerve damage and neurodegeneration.
Tooth loss affects overall health and quality of life
Teeth play an important role in speech, eating ability, facial appearance and quality of life. Losing a tooth can cause surrounding teeth to shift and bacteria to accumulate under the gum line, resulting in further gum disease and loss of bone and tissue.