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Men with Fewer Teeth at Greater Risk for Early Death
August 7, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Tooth loss is linked with an increased risk of death in middle-aged men, according to a Japanese study.

The study involved 7,779 men. All were between the ages of 40 and 79. None had heart disease at the start of the study.

The men were divided into groups based on the number of natural teeth they had:

  • No teeth: 21% of men
  • 1 to 9 teeth: 21%
  • 10 to 19 teeth: 22%
  • 20 or more teeth: 36%

Researchers kept track of the men for about 5½ years. During that time, 455 of the men died. There were 175 deaths from cancer, 98 deaths from heart disease and 130 deaths from other causes.

The researchers found that in men ages 40 to 64, having fewer teeth increased the risk of death from any cause. The risk was highest in the men with no teeth. This group had nearly 3 times the risk of death as the "20 or more teeth" group. The other groups had nearly twice the risk.

Among men 40 to 64, those with fewer teeth also had higher risks of death from heart disease and cancer.

Researchers adjusted their numbers to account for the effects of several other factors that affect the risk of death. These included age, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol level, educational level and whether the men had diabetes, were smokers or drank alcohol.

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

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