Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Older U.S. Adults' Dental Health Improves Overall

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Older U.S. Adults' Dental Health Improves Overall

Article excerpt

Among U.S. adults aged 60 years or older, 6% fewer lost all their teeth in 1999-2002, compared with 1988-1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The proportion of older adults with no natural teeth decreased from 31% in 1988-1994 to 25% in the most recent time period, a 20% improvement, according to an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [MMWR 2005;54(SS-3):1-44].

Smokers were more likely than non-smokers to have no natural teeth: 14% of smokers had lost all their teeth, compared with 5% of people who had never smoked.

The dental health of U.S. adults as a whole had improved by the 1999-2002 survey, but there were still disparities based on race and income, the report shows. Among higher-income adults, 16% had untreated tooth decay in the most recent time period, compared with 41% of poor adults. Non-Hispanic blacks retained fewer teeth than Mexican Americans or non-Hispanic whites.

The study included data on 16,128 adults aged 20 years or older in 1988-1994 and 8,805 in 1999-2002. The mean number of permanent teeth among adults averaged 23 in the earlier time period and 24 in the more recent time period. A normal, full set includes 28 teeth.

The prevalence of root caries decreased from 23% in 1988-1994 to 18% in 1999-2002.

The report is the first by the CDC to look at the rate of enamel fluorosis, a disfiguring hypomineralization of enamel related to exposure to fluoride during tooth formation. …

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