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The rate at which natural teeth are lost could indicate the presence of faster ageing, according to the findings of a new study.
Scientists from the Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Center found that dental loss was related to the incidence of disability and death in older people.
Some 573 able-bodied 70-year-old people were monitored over 20 years, 40 percent of whom had no natural teeth and 20 percent of whom had 20 or more teeth intact.
At the end of the period it was found that those with no teeth at 70 were considerably more likely to have experienced some disability over the following ten years.
"It is important to take poor dental health seriously in that these people may be at greater risk of general physical and/or cognitive decline," Dr. Poul Holm-Pedersen told Reuters.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also detected an increased rate of mortality in the participants with no teeth.
A recent report from the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association outlined how maintaining oral health can help protect against a number of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
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