Missing, unreplaced teeth and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality

Christian Schwahn, Ines Polzer, Robin Haring, Marcus Dörr, Henri Wallaschofski, Thomas Kocher, Torsten Mundt, Birte Holtfreter, Stefanie Samietz, Henry Völzke, Reiner Biffar

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Background: A dentition of at least 20 teeth is associated with sufficient masticatory efficiency and is a stated health goal of the World Health Organisation. We examined whether subjects with missing, unreplaced teeth had an increased mortality risk. Methods: We used data prospectively collected from those participants in the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania who had fewer than 20 remaining teeth, resulting in a sample of 1803 participants with a median age of 64 years. Of those, 188 subjects had 9 or more unreplaced teeth. During a median follow-up period of 9.9 years, 362 subjects died, 128 of whom of cardiovascular causes. Results: We found that having 9 or more unreplaced teeth was related to all-cause mortality (rate ratio 1.53, 95% CI: 1.11-2.10; adjusted for variables according to causal diagrams: remaining teeth, age, sex, education, income, marital status, partnership, and oral health behaviour) and cardiovascular mortality (rate ratio 1.94, 95% CI: 1.15-3.25). When adjusting not only for the variables according to causal diagrams but also for smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, the rate ratio was 1.43 (95% CI: 1.05-1.96) for all-cause mortality and 1.88 (95% CI: 1.10-3.21) for cardiovascular mortality. Conclusions: A reduced, unrestored dentition is associated with increased mortality risk. Thus, clinicians and dietitians have a responsibility to consider individual chewing ability in nutritional recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1430-1437
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cause of death
  • Dental prosthesis
  • Fatal outcome
  • Prospective studies
  • Tooth loss

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