According to a new study, by the time they reach age 70, rich people have 8 more teeth than poor. This insight from a British study confirms something we talked about in relation to water fluoridation: class plays a major role in protecting your teeth.
A Collaborative Study
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, was undertaken by a number of universities, charity groups, and government agencies. It looked at the dental information from more than 6,000 people aged 21 and over, representing all groups in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
It factored in not just income, but also occupational class, educational attainment, and other deprivation measures. In addition to the number of teeth, it found that people in the lower echelons of society had the worst dental health in many areas: more tooth decay, more gum disease, and more tooth gaps.
On the other hand, the study also showed that overall the oral health of Britons was improving. In general, younger adults were much healthier than it had been for people in their age group even a few years ago.
Similar Effects in the US
This study echoes findings in the US. Although researchers haven’t quantified the difference in teeth between those at the highest and lowest classes in the US, a study of the rate of toothlessness shows that toothlessness among high-income families had become rare, while it remained somewhat prevalent among states with high poverty rates. Overall, though, the rate of toothlessness had dropped from 18.9% in 1958 to 4.9% in 2012.
There are many contributors to poor oral health among lower classes, including diet, insurance, work restrictions, fewer regular checkups, and more. Researchers in the US and Britain have not been able to pin down which specific ones make the largest contribution.
If you are interested in maintaining your teeth, please call 845-627-7645 for an appointment with a Rockland County dentist at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.