Tooth loss is a common effect of aging. Many senior citizens have lost one or more teeth due decay, accidents, and, most commonly, periodontal disease. Missing teeth can certainly affect your appearance and oral function. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that missing teeth can indicate whether a patient is at risk for future mental and physical health problems. The more teeth a patient is missing, the more likely he or she is to decline faster in their later years. However, if you have lost a significant number of teeth, this doesn’t mean you should panic. In fact, being aware of this correlation may enable you to receive important treatment that will protect your smile and future physical wellness.
Tooth Loss and Aging Study
Researchers at University College London utilized data collected by the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. This data concerned 3,100 seniors over the age of 60. By analyzing this information, researchers compared subjects’ abilities to perform walking and memory tests. The study found that subjects with some of their natural teeth completed these tests with 10% more success than subjects with none of their own teeth. The researchers also considered other factors, such as gender, age smoking, and additional health concerns. Even with these other issues, subjects with significant tooth loss walked more slowly than those with natural teeth.
Preventing Future Dental and Physical Health Problems
Researchers noted that there may be a socioeconomic component to these findings. Subjects who had lost all of their natural teeth often did not have access to proper dental or medical care. Although further research is needed, experts say that these findings could help seniors and their health care professionals to be more proactive about future health.
Gum disease is one of the most common reasons for adult tooth loss. The condition has also been linked to life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks, stroke, and kidney disease. Patients who already suffer from gum disease should consult with a cardiologist or nephrologist (kidney doctor) now. Knowing that they are at risk for serious heart and kidney conditions, they can take steps to prevent these problems from occurring. Patients who do not currently suffer from gum disease can protect both their oral and physical health with proper dental care. Brushing, flossing, antibacterial mouthwash, and routine dental visits can drastically reduce an individual’s risk for periodontal disease and related health conditions.
ABOUT YOUR NORTH RICHLAND HILLS FAMILY DENTIST
With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-577-1444.