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Factors Associated with Tooth Loss in Older Adults in Rural Colorado
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    The purpose of this paper is to examine factors that are associated with tooth loss in older adults living in the San Luis Valley (SLV), Colorado, which is a rural and large geographical area (roughly the size of Connecticut) that has a large population age 60 years or older. Data used in this manuscript were collected as a part of the SLV Community Health Survey. The analyzed sample included 308 adults over the age of 65 years who completed the survey. Basic descriptive statistics and a series of step-wise binary logistic regression analyses were conducted; the dependent variable was the number of permanent teeth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease. Fifty-two percent of the participants were male, Hispanic participants made up 40 % of the sample and 76 % of the participants had at least a high school education. Tooth loss was significantly associated with older age (OR = 1.09; p = 0.02), lower income (OR = 0.01; p = 0.00), less than high school education (OR = 0.32; p = 0.01), being Hispanic (OR = 2.15; p = 0.05), self-reported fair-poor health status (OR 2.94; p = 0.02), consumption of one or more than one sweet beverage per day (OR = 4.52; p = 0.00), no dental insurance (OR = 4.70; p = 0.01) and length of time since last dental visit (OR = 0.21; p = 0.01). The findings of the present study suggest possible causes for tooth loss in rural adults and underscore the need for in-depth research to study the overall oral health of rural older adults living in SLV.

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