Tooth loss may be highest among African Americans
In a recent study designed to identify risk of tooth loss among elderly African American adults, 53 % of African Americans lost at least one tooth in a three-year period, with 13 % losing their remaining teeth, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an international organization of 35,000 dentists from the United States, its territories and Canada dedicated to continuing education to ensure the best possible dental care to the patient. Historically, African Americans are under-represented in dental research.
The three-year, university-based study included a random sample of 263 older African Americans . Dental examinations and home interviews identified possible key risk factors for tooth loss that included neglected access to dental care over a long period, high blood pressure and poor preventive dental behavior leading to advanced gum disease.
"I have seen many adults in my practice who were raised with the thought to visit the dentist only when they are in pain, not for preventive measures such as cleaning and check-ups," said George McLaughlin, DMD, and member of the Academy of General Dentistry. "As a result, severely neglected teeth usually have to be extracted, teeth that could have been saved with earlier, preventive care and good home dental habits such as brushing and flossing."