Author(s): Lee HK, Merchant AT, Song KB, Choi YH
The aim was to investigate the association between missing teeth and general health conditions in elderly Korean people. This cross-sectional study was conducted as a part of a health-screening program supported by the National Health Insurance Corporation of Korea in a local region of Sungju-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do from 2000 to 2006. The participants were 3611 in number (1494 males and 2117 females) aged 60 years and over. The outcome variable was the number of missing teeth in the mouth determined by dental examination; general medical examination included blood pressure, body height and weight to compute body mass index (BMI). Laboratory investigations included aspartate transaminase (AST), hemoglobin (HB), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and total cholesterol (CHOL). Demographic factors and smoking status were obtained from questionnaires by an interviewer. Multiple regression models were used as a statistical analysis. The subjects were classified into three groups according to the number of missing teeth (<8, 8-18, and >18). In unadjusted analyses individuals with more missing teeth, had poorer general health status (higher blood pressure, higher levels of AST, FPG, and CHOL, and higher BMI in females). In multiple regression models with the number of missing teeth as an outcome, systolic blood pressure, CHOL, FPG, and HB in males were statistically significant after adjusting for age and smoking. In females, systolic blood pressure, CHOL, FPG, and BMI were positively associated with the number of missing teeth. The number of missing teeth was positively related to poorer general health status such as blood pressure, FPG, CHOL, after adjusting for age and smoking in the rural elderly in Korea.