Adults with severe chronic disease, or with fair or poor general health, have a higher prevalence of losing all their teeth (edentulism) and severe tooth loss, according to research published in the May 29 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Marcia L. Parker, DMD from the CDC in Atlanta and colleagues, estimated tooth loss using three measures from 1999 to 2004 and 2011 to 2016, by comparing data among adults aged 50 years or over with selected chronic conditions. The three measures were edentulism, severe tooth loss, and lacking functional dentition.

The researchers found that the prevalence rates of edentulism and severe tooth loss were 50% or greater more among adults with fair or poor general health, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, diabetes, emphysema, heart disease, liver condition, or stroke, compared with those without the chronic condition during 2011 to 2016. Adults with chronic conditions also had a higher prevalence of lack of functional dentition compared with those without these conditions.

“CDC currently supports medical-dental integration activities to increase bidirectional messaging and referrals for dentists and primary care providers serving patients with prediabetes, diabetes, and hypertension,” the authors write, “Information obtained from these activities can be used to develop effective approaches to reduce the high prevalence of tooth loss among persons with chronic conditions and support better chronic disease management.”