A 5-year study of attachment loss and tooth loss in community-dwelling older adults

James D. Beck, Tonya Sharp, Gary G. Koch, Steven Offenbacher

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61 Scopus citations


Tooth loss is a widely recognized endpoint measure for the effects of periodontal diseases and the impact of periodontal therapy. In fact, traditional clinical measures of periodontal status often are considered to be surrogate endpoints in that they are assumed to be related to tooth loss. However, the strength of the relationship between attachment loss and tooth loss in a representative population of untreated subjects has not been studied extensively. The purpose of this paper is to present the trends in attachment loss over a 5-yr period in a population of community-dwelling elderly blacks and whites. Specifically, this paper presents attachment loss trends both at the person and tooth level to address the following issues; 1) whether teeth that experience attachment loss during 1 time period are more likely to be lost at the next time period; and 2) given similar levels of attachment loss, why are some people more likely to lose teeth? In 1988, the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry initiated the Piedmont 65+ Dental Study, which was designed to elicit 800 dentate respondents in the 5-county area who were examined again at 18, 36 and 60 months. Our findings indicated that teeth with poorer attachment level at baseline had a higher probability of being lost during the next 5 yr and teeth that experienced attachment loss during a time period were more likely to be lost during the next time period than teeth without additional attachment loss. In addition. it appears that there are person-level characteristics associated with increasing tendency towards tooth loss in people with similar periodontal status, a finding that may clarify the relationship between attachment loss and tooth loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-523
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Periodontics


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