Major clinical findings from a dental survey of elderly people in three different English communities

Br Dent J. 1996 Jan 6;180(1):17-23. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4808951.


A random sample of 2280 subjects aged 60 years or over from three areas of England were examined clinically in order to assess their dental health and needs. Between 33% (south of England) and 57% (north of England) were edentulous. Twenty per cent of all dentate subjects were edentulous in one arch and thus still required a complete denture. Amongst the dentate subjects geographical differences were small, but social class and behavioural differences were large. Dental non-attenders were the group who stood out as having much poorer oral health, averaging six fewer natural teeth than attenders. Nearly 50% of all teeth either had coronal fillings or needed them. Root caries was common, 20-22% of vulnerable teeth were affected and there was an age related increase in disease risk. The mean number of teeth with decayed roots per subject (0.8) was similar to the mean number with decayed coronal surfaces (0.9). Moderate tooth wear and moderate periodontal disease were both widespread. A minority of subjects had a functional dentition of 21 or more teeth. Major changes in the dental status of older adults have taken place in the last 30 years and these will continue, resulting in lower levels of edentulousness but a large need for maintenance of existing restorations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / statistics & numerical data
  • Denture, Complete / statistics & numerical data
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services for the Aged / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Jaw, Edentulous / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth, Edentulous / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Root Caries / epidemiology
  • Social Class
  • Tooth Abrasion / epidemiology
  • Tooth Diseases / epidemiology*