Tooth loss affects how well you perform everyday tasks in later life

Adapted from Does tooth loss affect ability to carry out everyday tasks in older people?

By Matsumyama Y et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 1 May 2021

Older adults with more natural teeth are better able to perform everyday tasks such as cooking, taking medications, managing money, making a telephone call or going shopping, according to research from University College London.

Data from 5,631 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging between the ages of 50 and 70 was analysed. Activities of daily living were self reported.

Being exposed to fluoridated water from age 5 to 20 was found to be associated with having more natural teeth in later life.

Professor Georgios Tsakos said, ” We know from previous studies that tooth loss is associated with reduced functional capacity, but this study is the first to provide evidence about the causal effect of tooth loss on the activities of daily living among older adults in England. This effect is considerable.

Older adults with ten natural teeth are 30% more likely to have difficulties with shopping for groceries or working around the house or garden compared to those with 20 natural teeth.

Even after you allow for factors such as educational qualifications, self rated health and their parents’ educational level, we still found that the more natural teeth a person had, the better their functional ability.”

My comment: Interesting. Would dental implants make a difference?

3 thoughts on “Tooth loss affects how well you perform everyday tasks in later life”

  1. well since T1, RA, MS and a bunch of others impact or are impacted by poor oral health it makes sense. I doubt it is tooth loss that makes much of a difference. Rather I suspect chronic illness is far more associated with tooth loss.

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  2. One of Brisbane’s greatest public health failings was for the council to listen to people who didn’t appreciate the science on fluoridation of drinking water. I grew up in Brisbane, and dentists in Australia can confirm when they examine my teeth that I am a Brisbane boy. I was also a lazy child, and while I did brush my teeth, I rarely flossed as a child and young adult. My brushing technique was also suboptimal. I now have amalgam in most of my teeth, and more than half of them have had root canal therapy as well as ceramic or gold caps.
    As a resident, I saw so many older people with poor dentition who suffered badly. Dental health is so important.

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