Endentulous persons, United States, 1971
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  • Description:
    Statistics on the prevalence of edentulous persons by age, sex, race, income, education, and place of residence. Data are also presented on utilization of dental services and use of dentures by persons who have lost all their natural teeth.

    There were an estimated 22.6 million edentulous persons in the United States according to the Health Interview Survey conducted in 1971. The Ju1y 1957-June 1958 survey estimate of the number of persons who were edentulous (had lost all their natural teeth) was 21.9 million. Since in most instances it takes many years of dental neglect for an individual to lose all his teeth, persons with no teeth are heavily concentrated in the older age groups. For example, in 1971,86.3 percent (19.5 million) of the edentulous population were in the age group 45 years of age and older, while in 1957-58 the comparable figure was 85.2 percent. Virtually every American will be affected during his or her lifetime by dental decay or periodontal disease. Reports previously published in the Vital and Health Statistics series contain national estimates of the prevalence, severity, and effects of dental disease among U.S. adults. Based on dental examinations conducted during 1960-62, it was estimated that approximately 20 million adults had lost all their natural teeth. Of the remaining adults with at least one natural tooth (approximately 90 million), about haIf had 18 or more decayed, missing, or filled teeth. In addition, about three out of four of those with natural teeth had periodontal disease, and about one out of four had an advanced form of periodontal disease with pocket formations. The result of neglected dental caries and advanced periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. Persons using artificial dentures are considerably less efficient at chewing than persons with healthy natural teeth. For the aged, artificial dentures mean a decrease in masticator function at a time when an efficient dental function is increasingly desirable due to changes in nutritional requirements. While the ultimate dental health goaI is the eradication of dental disease, an important immediate goal is the reduction of tooth Ioss. Tooth loss can usualIy be obviated by diagnosing and treating dental disease in its early stages and by utilizing the preventive measures now available.

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