Are You at Risk for Tooth Loss?

JANUARY 01, 2006

Researchers have identified several risk factors that increase the odds of losing teeth due to periodontal disease. These factors include male gender, smoking, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as well as poor oral hygiene. For their study, the researchers documented 3694 teeth extractions from 1775 patients over a 30-day period.

As reported in the Journal of Periodontology (November 2005), the investigators discovered that only 30% of the participants lost teeth because of periodontal disease. These patients tended to lose about 3 teeth each, however—more than patients who had teeth removed for other reasons. The study also indicated that patients aged 36 years and older were >3 times as likely to lose a tooth for periodontal reasons, compared with younger individuals. Men, compared with women, also were more likely to lose a tooth because of gum disease.

Past or current smokers were 56% more apt to lose a tooth due to periodontal disease. Patients with RA and diabetes faced a 4-fold and 3-fold increased risk of losing teeth due to periodontal disease, respectively.