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Tooth loss and osteoporosis: the osteodent study


  • Conflict of interest and source of funding statement
    The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.
    This work was supported by a research and technological development project grant from the European Commission FP5 “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources” (QLK6-2002-02243).

Prof. Hugh Devlin
School of Dentistry
University of Manchester
Higher Cambridge ST. Manchester
M15 6HF


Aim: To determine the cross-sectional association of the osteoporotic status of patients with the number of their teeth, with and without taking into account age and/or smoking.

Material & Methods: At four centres, the study recruited 665 females aged 45–70 years and the number of teeth was counted for 651 subjects. Bone density was measured at the total hip, femoral neck and lumbar spine.

Results: The mean number of teeth in the osteoporotic subjects was 3.3 fewer than normal subjects and 2.1 fewer if those with no teeth were excluded. The association between osteoporosis and having <6 or having <28 teeth remained significant after adjusting for age, smoking and centre with p-values of 0.016 and 0.011, respectively. A single regression model for tooth count with normal errors would not fit all the data. By fitting mixture regression models to subjects with tooth count >0, three clusters were identified corresponding to different degrees of tooth loss. The overall effect of osteoporosis was as follows: −1.8 teeth before and after adjusting for smoking, −1.2 teeth after adjusting for age, and −1.1 teeth after adjusting for both age and smoking.

Conclusions: We have established a significant association between osteoporosis and tooth loss after adjusting the effect for age and smoking.

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