Tooth loss and periodontitis in older individuals: results from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care

J Periodontol. 2013 Aug;84(8):1134-44. doi: 10.1902/jop.2012.120378. Epub 2012 Oct 22.


Background: Due to the increasing number of older people, there is a need for studies focused on this population. The aims of the present study are to assess oral and systemic conditions in individuals aged 60 to 95 years with access to dental insurance.

Methods: Probing depths (PDs), tooth loss, alveolar bone levels, and systemic health were studied among a representative cohort of older individuals.

Results: A total of 1,147 individuals in young-old (aged 60 or 67 years), old (aged 72 or 78 years), and old-old (aged ≥81 years) age groups were enrolled, including 200 individuals who were edentulous, in this study. Annual dental care was received by 82% of dentate individuals. Systemic diseases were common (diabetes: 5.8%; cardiovascular diseases: 20.7%; obesity: 71.2%; elevated C-reactive protein [CRP]: 98.4%). Serum CRP values were unrelated to periodontal conditions. Rates of periodontitis, defined as ≥30% of sites with a distance from cemento-enamel junction to bone of ≥5 mm, were 11.2% in women in the young-old age group and 44.9% in men in the old-old age group. Individuals in older age groups had a higher likelihood of periodontitis defined by bone loss and cutoff levels of PD ≥5 mm (odds ratio: 1.8; 95% confidence interval: 1.2 to 2.5; P <0.01). A total of 7% of individuals in the old-old age group had ≥20 teeth and no periodontitis. Systemic diseases, dental use, or smoking were not explanatory, whereas age and sex were explanatory for periodontitis.

Conclusions: The prevalence of periodontitis increased with age. Sex seems to be the dominant explanatory factor for periodontitis in older individuals. Despite frequent dental visits, overall oral health in the oldest age cohort was poor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Alveolar Bone Loss / epidemiology
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Furcation Defects / epidemiology
  • Gingival Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth, Edentulous / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Pocket / epidemiology
  • Periodontitis / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology*


  • C-Reactive Protein