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Acta Odontol Scand. 2007 Nov;65(6):335-40.

Number of teeth--a predictor of mortality in the elderly? A population study in three Nordic localities.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.



Although associations between number of teeth and mortality have been found in some studies, the results have not been conclusive. The aim of this study was to determine whether dental status at age 75 is an independent predictor of survival in three Nordic populations.


The baseline study was conducted as part of a comparative Nordic investigation of systematic samples of 75-year-old men and women born in the period 1914-16 (n=1004) and living independently in three Nordic localities: Glostrup in Denmark, Jyväskylä in Finland, and Göteborg in Sweden. Performed in 1989-91, the study included a home interview, a health questionnaire, and a laboratory examination. For the present study, the mortality data of all participants up to age 82 were collected from official registers in 1999.


Lower mortality during 7 years was associated with higher number of remaining teeth at age 75. In Jyväskylä and Göteborg, but not in Glostrup, the association between number of teeth and mortality was statistically significant. For all three samples pooled and adjusted for sex and location, this association was significant (odds ratio 0.866; p<0.001).


Number of teeth is a significant predictor of 7-year mortality in 75-year-old women independently of a number of factors related to lifestyle, disease, and reduced functional capacity.

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