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Oral health and all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory mortality in older people in the UK and USA

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  • Eftychia Kotronia
  • Heather Brown
  • A. Olia Papacosta
  • Lucy T. Lennon
  • Robert J. Weyant
  • Peter H. Whincup
  • S. Goya Wannamethee
  • Sheena E. Ramsay
Article number16452
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/12/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date12/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Preventing deterioration of oral health in older age can be crucial for survival. We aimed to examine associations of oral health problems with all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and respiratory mortality in older people. We used cohort data from the British Regional Health Study (BRHS) (N = 2147, 71–92 years), and the Health, Aging and Body Composition (HABC) Study (USA) (N = 3075, 71–80 years). Follow-up was 9 years (BRHS) and 15 years (HABC Study). Oral health comprised tooth loss, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and self-rated oral health. Cox regression was performed for all-cause mortality, competing risks for CVD mortality, and accelerated failure time models for respiratory mortality. In the BRHS, tooth loss was associated with all-cause mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.59, 95% CI 1.09, 2.31). In the HABC Study, tooth loss, dry mouth, and having ≥ 3 oral problems were associated with all-cause mortality; periodontal disease was associated with increased CVD mortality (subdistribution hazard ratio (SHR) = 1.49, 95% CI 1.01, 2.20); tooth loss, and accumulation of oral problems were associated with high respiratory mortality (tooth loss, time ratio (TR) = 0.73, 95% CI 0.54, 0.98). Findings suggest that poor oral health is associated with mortality. Results highlight the importance of improving oral health to lengthen survival in older age.