About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 156061, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/156061
Research Article

Dental Health Behaviors, Dentition, and Mortality in the Elderly: The Leisure World Cohort Study

1Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
2Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
3Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Section, UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
4Public Health and Community Dentistry Divison, UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Received 12 March 2011; Accepted 8 April 2011

Academic Editor: Bo A. Hagberg

Copyright © 2011 Annlia Paganini-Hill et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the last decade the effect of oral health on the general health and mortality of elderly people has attracted attention. We explored the association of dental health behaviors and dentition on all-cause mortality in 5611 older adults followed from 1992 to 2009 ( years) and calculated risk estimates using Cox regression analysis in men and women separately. Toothbrushing at night before bed, using dental floss everyday, and visiting the dentist were significant risk factors for longevity. Never brushing at night increased risk 20–35% compared with brushing everyday. Never flossing increased risk 30% compared with flossing everyday. Not seeing a dentist within the last 12 months increased risk 30–50% compared with seeing a dentist two or more times. Mortality also increased with increasing number of missing teeth. Edentulous individuals (even with dentures) had a 30% higher risk of death compared with those with 20+ teeth. Oral health behaviors help maintain natural, healthy and functional teeth but also appear to promote survival in older adults.