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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003 Dec 19;52(50):1226-9.

Public health and aging: retention of natural teeth among older adults--United States, 2002.


During the past several decades, the percentage of older adults who have retained their natural teeth has increased steadily. This trend is expected to continue, resulting in improved oral function and quality of life. To estimate the prevalences of tooth retention and total tooth loss in 2002 among adults aged >/=65 years, CDC analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that in 26 (52%) states, more than half of older adults reported having most (i.e., losing five or fewer) of their natural teeth. However, rates varied substantially among states and by selected characteristics. With tooth retention, older adults remain at risk for dental caries (i.e., tooth decay) and periodontal disease. To help adults maintain healthy teeth for life, community-based strategies should promote healthy behaviors, optimal use of fluoride, timely examinations and clinical services, and increased research into preventing oral diseases and promoting oral health among adults.

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