Tooth Loss in Seniors

Overall, the prevalence of both partial and total tooth loss in seniors has decreased from the early 1970s until the latest (1999-2004) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In spite of this improvement, significant disparities remain in some population groups.

Tables 1 and 2 present information about tooth loss for seniors age 65 and over and for selected population groups.

Number of Teeth Remaining (Table 1)

  • Seniors over age 65 have an average of 18.90 remaining teeth.
  • Black seniors, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education have fewer remaining teeth.

Number of Adults with Total Tooth Loss (Table 2)

  • 27.27% of seniors over age 65 have no remaining teeth
  • Older seniors, women, Black seniors, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have no remaining teeth.

Table 1: Seniors, Mean Number of Permanent Teeth Remaining

Mean number of permanent teeth among seniors over 65 years of age, by selected characteristics: United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004
Characteristic Mean Number of Permanent Teeth
Age  
65 to 74 years 19.34
75 years or more 18.36
Sex  
Male 19.03
Female 18.77
Race and Ethnicity  
White, non-Hispanic 19.39
Black, non-Hispanic 15.19
Mexican American 18.15
Poverty Status Income compared to Federal Poverty Level)  
Less than 100% 15.58
100% to 199% 16.99
Greater than 200% 20.08
Education  
Less than High School 15.86
High School 18.10
More than High School 20.96
Smoking History  
Current Smoker 15.39
Former Smoker 18.16
Never Smoked 19.91
Overall 18.90

 

Data Source: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been an important source of information on oral health and dental care in the United States since the early 1970s. Tables 1 and 2 present the latest NHANES (collected between 1999 and 2004) data regarding tooth decay (dental caries) in children.

Table 2: Seniors, Percent with No Remaining Teeth

Mean percentage of seniors over 65 years of age with no remaining teeth, by selected characteristics: United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004
Characteristic Percentage with no Remaining Teeth
Age  
65 to 74 years 23.93
75 years or more 31.30
Sex  
Male 24.42
Female 29.30
Race and Ethnicity  
White, non-Hispanic 26.12
Black, non-Hispanic 32.81
Mexican American 23.90
Poverty Status (Income compared to Federal Poverty Level)  
Less than 100% 44.19
100% to 199% 36.61
Greater than 200% 17.25
Education  
Less than High School 43.32
High School 28.28
More than High School 13.65
Smoking History  
Current Smoker 49.69
Former Smoker 28.69
Never Smoked 21.72
Overall 27.27

 

Data Source: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been an important source of information on oral health and dental care in the United States since the early 1970s. Tables 1 and 2 present the latest NHANES (collected between 1999 and 2004) data regarding tooth decay (dental caries) in children.

Last Reviewed
July 2018