Tooth mortality in an adult rural population in Kenya.

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  • Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine
  • Department of Anatomy
This paper reports on the pattern of tooth loss in a random sample of 1131 adults aged from 15 to 65 years in a rural area of Kenya in which access to formal dental care is minimal. We found that the majority of the population retained most of their dentition in a functional state even up to the age of 65 years: In all age groups, more than 50% had at least 26 teeth present, and more than 90% had at least 16 teeth present. The prevalence of edentulousness was less than 0.3%. The principal cause of tooth loss in all age groups was caries, and this was true for all tooth-types except incisors, for which periodontal disease was the main cause of tooth loss. The cultural practice of removing lower central incisors was observed only in those over 40 years of age. More teeth were lost due to caries among women than among men, while the reverse was true for teeth lost due to periodontal diseases. In view of the fact that most people retain most of their teeth throughout life, it is suggested that the most appropriate strategies for dental health care in this population should be those promoting self care, rather than the introduction of a formal treatment-oriented approach provided by dentists.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1988

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Cluster Analysis, Dental Caries, Developing Countries, Female, Health Planning, Humans, Kenya, Male, Middle Aged, Mouth, Edentulous, Periodontal Diseases, Prevalence, Sampling Studies, Tooth Extraction, Tooth Loss

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