Dental Health Behaviors, Dentition, and Mortality in the Elderly: The Leisure World Cohort Study
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the influence of dental occlusion, with or without the use of dentures, on mortality in community-dwelling elderly persons. SUBJECTS A total of 1030 randomly selected healthy independent elderly aged 65 and over were surveyed in 1995. For the study reported here, subjects were classified into three groups according to the presence or absence of maxillo-mandibular tooth contacts. Subjects with no maxillo-mandibular tooth contacts were further subdivided into those with and without dentures. METHODS Data on mortality were obtained from Kure City Council in September 2003. Cox regression models were used in analysing the risk for death with gender and age as covariates. RESULTS Individuals whose teeth had contact in at least the bilateral premolar regions at baseline had 0.78 times (95% CI: 0.60-0.99) smaller risk for death during the succeeding 8 years than those who had no occlusion. Among those who had no occlusion with their own teeth, the risk for mortality among denture non-users was 1.52 times (95% CI: 1.25-1.83) higher than the risk for denture users. CONCLUSION These results may support the view that, in the elderly; poor dental occlusion is associated with an increased risk for mortality and that, in the edentulous, the use of dentures is associated with a decreased risk for mortality.