Tooth Loss Can Indicate Bigger Problems for Senior Patients

4.1.1A Miami prosthodontist certainly sees his or her fair share of senior patients – Miami consistently ranks in the top 10 cities in the United States with the largest senior citizen populations.

In treating patients who are 65 and over, a Miami prosthodontist typically treats a good number of patients with at least some tooth loss. While most people view tooth loss as an inconvenience and a cosmetic problem, research has shown that the problem can actually be indicative of other health and memory problems.

A study from a research team at the University College London (UCL) analyzed data from more than 3,100 adults aged 60 and over living in England. The study showed that people who had lost all their natural teeth performed about 10 percent worse in memory and walking tests than those who still had their natural teeth.

While the study did not prove that tooth loss actually causes the physical or mental decline, it does suggest that complete tooth loss could be an early warning sign of these conditions in senior citizens.

The study also indicated that socioeconomic factors – including education and income – could be the common denominator between tooth loss and poor physical and mental health. For example, it is rare to see cases of total tooth loss in high-income U.S. households, though it is relatively common in states with disproportionately high poverty levels.

For a prosthodontist in Miami, this information presents an opportunity to identify senior patients who are at higher risk of faster decline later in life. In addition to socioeconomic factors, other elements like lifestyle and social behaviors play into the risk of tooth loss, and these are things can ultimately be influenced or changed. Patients who begin to notice signs of tooth loss should make an appointment with a Miami prosthodontist as quickly as possible to get the help that they need.

Posted: Wednesday January 28, 2015