Factors associated with becoming edentulous in the US Health and Retirement Study.

TitleFactors associated with becoming edentulous in the US Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWeintraub, JA, Orleans, B, Fontana, MAlan, Phillips, C, Jones, JA
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
ISSN Number1532-5415
KeywordsDental Care, Risk Factors, Smoking

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: To determine factors associated with older adults becoming edentulous (complete tooth loss).

DESIGN: Longitudinal study over a 6-year period.

SETTING: United States, 2006, 2012.

PARTICIPANTS: Nationally representative US sample of adults, aged 50 years and older (n = 9982), participating in the Health and Retirement Study in 2006 and 2012. At the outset, they were dentate and not institutionalized.


MEASUREMENTS: Self-report of being dentate or edentulous, demographic variables, dental utilization and other health behaviors, self-rated general health, and incidence between 2006 and 2012 of comorbid medical conditions, functional limitations, and disabilities.

RESULTS: From 2006 to 2012, 563 individuals (5%) became edentulous and 9419 (95%) remained dentate. Adults who became edentulous by 2012 were more likely than those who remained dentate to be black/African American compared to white, to be less educated, were current smokers, had diabetes, and reported poorer self-rated general health, more functional limitations and disabilities, and fewer dental visits (all P < .0001), among other factors. Of those with regular dental visits (at least once every 2 years during the 6-year period), 2.3% became edentulous compared to 9.9% among those without regular dental visits. After adjusting for age and other potential confounders, there was a strong association with poor dental attendance and smoking. Nonregular dental attenders were more likely than regular attenders to become edentulous (odds ratio [OR] = 2.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.12-3.53), and current smokers were more likely than never smokers to become edentulous (OR = 2.46; 95% CI = 1.74-3.46).

CONCLUSION: Although more contemporaneous data are needed to determine causality, regular dental utilization and smoking are modifiable factors that could prevent edentulism, even when many other comorbid conditions are present. J Am Geriatr Soc, 1-7, 2019.

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Alternate JournalJ Am Geriatr Soc
Citation Key10164
PubMed ID31335967