Tooth Loss Statistics

By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on March 12, 2019

A man missing a toothMissing teeth can affect the aesthetics of your smile as well as your ability to bite and chew. Thankfully Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr. offers numerous restorative dentistry treatments for tooth loss and people missing all of their teeth. Our practice has restored countless smiles in the greater Knoxville, TN area.

Tooth loss is a common problem across the country. It has numerous causes and contributing factors you may not have realized. Let’s look at some statistics on tooth loss and consider the stories that these numbers tell.

Current Numbers on Tooth Loss

According to numbers from the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP), roughly 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. The ACP also estimates that 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth.

The Most Common Causes of Tooth Loss

A 2012 study that was published in the International Journal of Dentistry chronicled the most common reasons for tooth extraction at Brazilian dental clinic. The findings were revealing, and are consistent with the leading causes of tooth loss in the United States:

  • Cavities/Tooth Decay - 38.4 percent
  • Gum Disease - 32.3 percent
  • Eruption Problems - 6.4 percent
  • Orthodontic Problems - 5.7 percent
  • Prosthetics - 3.6 percent
  • Injury/Trauma - 2.6 percent
  • Occlusal Problems - 1.1. percent
  • Other - 9.9 percent

Links Between Age and Missing Teeth

The older someone gets, the more likely they are to suffer from tooth loss. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) found some fascinating numbers when it comes to age and tooth loss. (Note that a normal mouth without wisdom teeth has 28 teeth total.)

  • People 20-34 years of age - 26.90 remaining teeth
  • People 35-49 years of age - 25.05 remaining teeth
  • People 50-64 years of age - 22.30 remaining teeth

The NIDCR also estimated that 10.13 percent of Americans age 50-64 are missing all of their teeth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 13 percent of Americans age 65-74 are missing all of their teeth; that number increases to 26 percent for Americans age 75 and older.

How Smoking Can Increase Risk of Missing Teeth

Smoking has long been associated with tooth loss, gum disease, and other dental health problems. The NIDCR has numbers to back that up. Here are the average numbers of remaining teeth based on whether or not a person smokes:

  • Current Smoker - 23.4 remaining teeth
  • Former Smoker - 25.1 remaining teeth
  • Non-Smoker - 25.6 remaining teeth

As you can see, even people who quit smoking has more teeth on average than current smokers. This is yet another compelling reason for current smokers to kick the habit for good.

Missing Teeth and Socioeconomic Factors

Finally, we should note that socioeconomic factors play a role in tooth loss and overall dental health. According to the NIDCR, Americans living at or below the poverty line had an average of 23.52 teeth; 9.28 of Americans at or below the poverty line were missing all of their teeth. Americans with less than a high school education averaged 23.1 teeth; 8.07 percent of people with less than a high school education were missing all of their teeth.

Education, access to dental care services, diet, and a host of other factors played a role in tooth loss among these people.

Learn More About Treating Tooth Loss

To learn more about replacing your missing teeth and improving your overall dental health in the process, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. Dr. Zarger and his team are here to help. You can reach us by phone at (865) 693-7631.

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