Exposure to childhood trauma might increase one’s risk of tooth loss later in life.

Researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed data from a survey of older adults nationwide. Data focused on adversity in childhood including abuse and the death of a parent, adversity in adulthood including poverty status and educational attainment, and total tooth loss in old age.

The team, which published their findings in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, found that childhood trauma influences total tooth loss over the course of one’s life. Additionally, adversity in adulthood contributes to poor oral health.

Researchers say that adverse experiences could impact tooth loss through psychosocial pathways. For example, children who were abused may be more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like binge-drinking, which can contribute to tooth loss.


Lee, H. (2019, May 21). A life course approach to total tooth loss: Testing the sensitive period, accumulation, and social mobility models in the Health and Retirement Study. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cdoe.12463