Edentulism and Tooth Retention
Compared to 1999–2004, the percentage of adults who were edentulous (i.e., had lost all of their natural teeth) decreased in 2011–2016 (4% vs. 2%) (Table 33). Except for Mexican American adults and current smokers, decreases were observed across all sociodemographic characteristics, with the largest decrease among adults aged 50–64 years (10% vs. 6%). During 2011–2016, edentulism was higher among adults who were poor (6%) or near-poor (4%), had a high school education (3%) or less (5%), and were current smokers (6%), compared to those who were not-poor, had more education, or had never smoked (approximately 1%).
By 2011–2016, the mean number of permanent teeth retained among dentate adults (i.e., those who have at least one permanent tooth present) was 25.5 teeth—an increase of 0.5 teeth from 1999–2004 (Table 34). Increases in the mean number of teeth retained were found across most sociodemographic groups, with the largest increases among those aged 50–64 years (1.1 teeth) and near-poor (0.9 teeth). No group had a decrease in the mean number of teeth. Since 1999–2004, no detectable differences were found in the mean number of teeth retained among adults aged 20–34 years; those who were Mexican American, poor, or current smokers; or those who had a high school education.
During 2011–2016, the mean number of teeth retained across all sociodemographic characteristics ranged from 23 to 27 teeth. Adults in the following groups retained fewer teeth than the respective reference groups in each sociodemographic characteristic: those aged 50–64 years, non-Hispanic blacks, Mexican Americans, or poor and near-poor adults combined, those with a high school education or less, and current or former smokers.
Seventeen percent of adults aged 65 or older were edentulous, reflecting a decrease of about 10 percentage points during 1999–2004 (Table 35). Except for non-Hispanic black adults and current smokers, estimates of edentulism decreased from 1999–2004 to 2011–2016 across all sociodemographic characteristics. During 2011–2016, the prevalence of edentulism ranged from 9% among older adults with more than a high school education to 43% among current smokers. Prevalence of edentulism among older adults who were poor (34%), had less than a high school education (35%), and were current smokers (43%) was more than 3 times that of those who were not-poor (11%), had more than a high school education (9%), and had never smoked (12%).
About 1 in 6 older adults (17%) had lost all of their teeth—a decrease of 10 percentage points compared to 1999–2004. Among older adults who were current smokers, 43% had lost all of their teeth, which is more than 3 times the prevalence among those who never smoked (12%).
Dentate older adults had an average of 21 teeth, which is an increase of almost 2 teeth since 1999–2004 (Table 36). No changes were detected in the mean number of teeth among those who were non-Hispanic black, Mexican American, or poor; who had less than a high school education; and who were current smokers. During 2011–2016, the number of teeth retained among older adults across sociodemographic characteristics ranged from 16 to 22 teeth. Adults who were aged 75 years or older (20 teeth), non-Hispanic black (16 teeth), Mexican American (18 teeth), or poor and near-poor combined (18 teeth); who had a high school education (19 teeth) or less (17 teeth); and who were current smokers (16 teeth) retained fewer teeth than their respective reference groups (22 teeth).