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Regular Dental Visits Benefit Older People, Too
April 16, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Regular check-ups aren't just good for children; they can help older adults keep healthy mouths.

That's the conclusion of a study from the University of Bergen, Norway. It included 4,143 adults who were born in 1942. They completed surveys in 1992 (at age 50), and then at ages 55, 60 and 65.

At age 50, 69% of the adults had regular dental check-ups. By age 65, this had decreased to 64%. People who continued to have regular check-ups were less likely than others to report problems with their mouths and teeth. They also were less likely to lose teeth during the 15-year study period.

The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that older adults are still at risk for tooth decay, gum disease and mouth cancer. Regular dental check-ups may help to identify these problems before they become advanced. Even older adults who have lost all of their teeth should have regular check-ups, the ADA says. The organization recommends seeing a dentist at least once a year.

The Norwegian study appears in the April issue of the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

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