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J Dent Res. 1996 Feb;75(2):783-9.

Incidence of and risk factors for tooth loss in a population of older Canadians.

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  • 1Community Dental Health Services Research Unit, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Data on the incidence of tooth loss in community-dwelling older Canadians have not previously been reported. Since recent US studies of older adults were conducted in predominantly rural communities, their results may not be generalizable to Canada, where the majority of older adults live in major metropolitan or urban settings. This paper describes a study designed to estimate the incidence of tooth loss in older Canadians and to identify factors predictive of that loss. Using personal interviews and clinical examinations, we obtained baseline and three-year follow-up data from 491 dentate subjects. Overall, 23.2% lost one or more teeth between baseline and follow-up. Only six, or 1.2%, became edentulous. Twelve baseline factors were significantly associated with the probability of loss. However, in a logistic regression analysis, only five had significant independent effects. These were gender, marital status, self-rating of oral health status, the number of decayed root surfaces, and a mean periodontal attachment loss of 4 mm or more. The predictive ability of the model was poor, largely because tooth loss is a complex outcome which depends on decisions taken by dentists and patients. Since this decision-making process cannot be captured in epidemiological studies, observational studies are needed to cast further light on tooth loss in this population.

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