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What Percent of the Population has Missing Teeth? More Than you Think!

Contributors:  Natalie Asmussen

According to the American College of Prosthodontists, around 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth — that means roughly 50% of the population. As you can see, it's a relatively common phenomenon and is owed to several factors, including genetics, poor oral hygiene, and lack of access to dental care, among others.

In this article, we'll have a look at the following:

  • How many people are missing multiple teeth
  • Trends and patterns concerning tooth loss
  • What to do if you're missing teeth

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about tooth loss in the US, and what it means for you.

Tooth loss FAQs

Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about tooth loss in America:

How many teeth is the average person missing?

The average number of missing teeth is 6.5 for adults between the ages of 20 and 64 years old. In other words, in that age range, the average number of teeth is 25.5. Most adults would have 32 teeth if they weren't missing any.

How many people are missing teeth in the US?

According to the American College of Prosthodontists, about 178 million people in the US are missing at least 1 tooth, and around 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth. Missing teeth are more common in older adults, as around 30% of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 years of age are missing all of their teeth.

Should you replace missing teeth?

Yes, you should absolutely replace missing teeth for a number of reasons. There are obvious aesthetic reasons, but the health reasons are much more important and could seriously impact your life. When you don't replace missing teeth:

  • Your risk of gum disease increases
  • Your teeth might shift out of place
  • Your cheeks sink in
  • Your jawbone deteriorates
  • It's harder to eat

The best way to replace missing teeth is with dental implants. Dental implants consist of a post that is placed in your jawbone and becomes part of your jaw, acting just as your natural tooth root did.

On top of the post and above the gumline sits the crown, which is the part of the tooth you can see. An implant looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth.

This is important for aesthetic reasons, but also because natural tooth roots help keep your jawbone strong and the surrounding teeth in place, and implants help to provide the same function.

Is it OK to have missing teeth?

You shouldn't feel ashamed about having missing teeth, after all, 178 million Americans are missing at least 1 tooth. But you should get your missing teeth replaced.

As we mentioned above, the best way to replace missing teeth is with implants, however, this is also the most expensive option, and isn't within everyone's budget. In this case, a quality set of dentures is also a good option.

How many people have no teeth?

Approximately 40 million Americans have no natural teeth — and 30% of adults between 65 and 74 are missing all of their teeth. This is more common in economically disadvantaged populations.

Causes of missing teeth

There are many reasons why someone may be missing a tooth or multiple teeth, the most common of those being:

  • Physical trauma
  • Tooth decay
  • Everyday wear and tear
  • Cancer
  • Bone disease
  • Gum disease

There are certain factors that can exacerbate these causes of tooth loss, such as socioeconomic status, smoking, and age. According to the National Institute of Health, older adults, smokers and those with lower incomes are more likely to have no remaining teeth.

Conclusion

Around 50% of the population is missing at least 1 tooth, or around 178 million Americans. And 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth. So if you're missing teeth, you're certainly not alone, and you shouldn't feel ashamed.

But if you can, you should definitely get your missing tooth or teeth replaced — ideally with implants, but if that's not in your budget, then a quality set of dentures will do.

Talk to your dentist about your options for replacing missing teeth, because it's never too late to take care of your smile.

Contributors:
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
Sources

ACP: Missing Teeth. Consulted 3rd January 2023.

NIH: Tooth Loss in Adults. Consulted 3rd January 2023.