It is a conundrum many of us would have thought about at one time or another. Now it appears we are one step closer to the answer and all we have to do is count the number of teeth we have.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation, has consistently been a reliable marker for assessing the health of our whole body.
A study published in the latest edition of the journal of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology looked into tooth loss and mortality. The study showed the number of teeth we have is significantly correlated to our life expectancy. Results found those with 20 teeth or more at the age of 70 had a considerably higher chance of living longer than those with less than 20 teeth.
Dr Carter said: “Oral health indicators, such as gum disease, have regularly been linked to a wide range of general health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, dementia and problems during pregnancy.
As little back as 1978, the first Adult Dental Health Survey revealed a staggering one in three (37 per cent) Brits had none of their natural teeth. That year the average life expectancy was 73 years old.
Today, as few as one in twenty (six per cent) have none of their natural teeth while life expectancy has grown to around 81 years old.