According to recently published research, edentulous rates–the number of people who have no teeth remaining–have declined sharply in recent years , leading us to wonder whether we will eventually have a society where no one needs dentures.

Demographics and Dentures

Researchers from the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) looked at the rate of edentulism over five decades from 1957 to 2012. They found that the number of people who had no teeth remaining dropped dramatically over the period. The rate of toothlessness in the 1957-1958 survey was 18.9% of all people over the age of 15. That rate had fallen dramatically to only 4.9% by the 2009-2012 survey.

The primary reason for the decline, they noted, was the death of people born before the 1940s, who had a much higher edentulous rate, about 5-6% per decade of age, compared to all generations after them, which averaged an edentulous rate of about 1-3% per decade of age. What makes the difference? Better access to higher quality dental care and preventative techniques, such as fluoride toothpaste and water fluoridation.

The report also notes that edentulous rates dropped by a higher percentage among high-income individuals, and that class is a major factor in the rate of toothlessness. By 2010, complete tooth loss had become very rare in high-income individuals.

Projections for the Future

The report also projected the rate of edentulousness into the future. They found that as the mid-20th century generation passes, the drop in the edentulous rate will persist but slow. The edentulous rate in 2050 is expected to be only 2.6%. As a result, although the population will increase, and become increasingly older, the absolute number of people with dentures is expected to be 30% less than in 2010.

It seems that if we are to truly see a future without dentures, we would likely also need to create a future without poverty.

If you are looking for quality dentures in the present, however, we can help. Please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry today.