Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is very common in the elderly:

  • 30% of elderly have untreated caries
  • 25% have lost tooth-supporting structures due to periodontal disease
  • Adults over age 65 have an average of 18 remaining teeth
  • 25% are completely edentulous

Edentulous male not wearing his dentures

Robert Henry, DMD, MPH
Robert Henry, DMD, MPH

Edentulous male with dentures in

Robert Henry, DMD, MPH
Robert Henry, DMD, MPH

Negative Impacts of Tooth Loss

  • Difficulty eating
  • Inadequate nutritional intake
  • Dissatisfaction with facial appearance

Dentures, while not nearly as good as original teeth, can significantly improve quality of life by:

  • Providing support and increasing the vertical dimension of the mouth
  • Improving appearance
  • Making eating easier


Vargas CM, Kramarow EA, Yellowitz JA. The Oral Health of Older Americans. Aging Trends, No. 3. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2001.

Wu B, Hybels C, Liang J, Landerman L, Plassman B. Social stratification and tooth loss among middle-aged and older Americans from 1988 to 2004. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2014; 42(6):495-502.

Oral Health for Older Americans. CDC; Accessed 9/23/2018.