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Health Indicator Report of Oral Health - Tooth Retention

Tooth retention in adults is a good marker for oral health, which is important to overall health and quality of life. Oral health affects our ability to speak, smile, eat, and show emotions. It also affects self-esteem and attendance at work. Retaining teeth throughout life supports a healthy jaw bone structure resulting in healthier gums and lessening the chance of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. Tooth retention also supports facial structure and appearance, as well, while loss of teeth impacts the facial aging process. Tooth retention helps the aging population maintain their chewing performance, enabling them to continue eating a wider variety of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease can both contribute to and be affected by the tooth decay and periodontal disease that can lead to tooth loss. Research recommends that daily brushing, flossing and annual prophylactic dental visits lead to better tooth retention.


Question text: How many of your permanent teeth have been removed because of tooth decay or gum disease? Include teeth lost to infection, but do not include teeth lost for other reasons, such as injury or orthodontics. (Question asked in even-numbered years.)

Data Interpretation Issues

Data for this indicator report are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related behaviors, health conditions, and preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories. Responses have been weighted to reflect the New Mexico adult population by age, sex, ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, education level, home ownership and type of phone ownership. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (with cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters. Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond. Please see the [ BRFSS Method Change Factsheet]. The "missing" and "don't know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage.


The percentage of adults who have had no teeth extracted due to decay or gum disease


The number of survey respondents who reported that they have had no teeth extracted due to decay or gum disease


The total number of survey respondents who answered the question

Healthy People Objective: OH-4, Reduce the proportion of adults who have ever had a permanent tooth extracted because of dental caries or periodontal disease

U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category
Page Content Updated On 01/23/2018, Published on 01/23/2018
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Fri, 18 January 2019 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:00:20 MST