The DMD Check-Up: The States with the Most Toothless Seniors

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Our weekly look at must-read news stories for dentists.

This week's list of must-read news stories for dentists includes a state-by-state listing of toothlessness among senior citizens. Also on the list: A shocking case of malpractice from France and a possible link between regular tooth-brushing and a decrease in Alzheimer’s progression.

States with the Most Toothless Seniors


It’s a national disgrace—“approximately 25% of Americans over age 65 have no remaining natural teeth.” Using CDC data, the top 25 states with the most toothless seniors were identified. West Virginia (34% toothless) and Kentucky (24% toothless) seniors were worst off.

The ‘Dentist of Horror’ Case (CNN)

A former fugitive Dutch dentist is now on trial in France accused of having mutilated the mouths of more than 100 patients. Dr. Jacobus van Nierop is alleged to have ripped out healthy teeth and to have left dozens of patients with broken jaws, abscesses, and septicemia.

National Dentist's Day 2016 (

America’s dentists got an honorary day (March 6) this week. According to this report, though, the nation’s dental professionals can ill afford to stop and celebrate. The ADA informs us that “more than 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year despite the fact annual checkups can help prevent most dental diseases.”


Teeth Brushing May Combat Alzheimer's (The Telegraph)

Here’s a new report on how “regular teeth brushing may slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease” after British scientists “found that gum disease speeds up mental decline by six times.” Dr. Mark Ide explains that “having few teeth, possibly as a consequence of earlier gum disease, is associated with a greater risk of developing dementia.”

Got Sleep Disorder? See a Dentist (

University at Buffalo researchers report that “dentists can tell sleep-related disorders more than physicians by virtue of their more frequent attention to the patient's mouth. “Dentists are in the unique position as healthcare professionals to pinpoint signs of obstructive sleep apnea”—which too frequently goes undiagnosed.

Domestic Violence Soothed by Caring Dentist (CTV News)

A life-sustaining story about a Canadian dentist who launched Project Restoring Smiles—a program that provides free dental treatment to survivors of domestic violence. Dr. Tina Meisami “changed my life, saved my life, and I’m forever grateful,” said one abuse victim.

Antidepressants Linked to Tooth Implant Failure (UB Reporter)

University of Buffalo researchers have found that “the use of antidepressants increases the odds of tooth implant failure by four times. Each year of antidepressant use doubled the odds of failure.” With antidepressant drug usage up 400% over a 20-year period, “their benefits must be weighed with the side effects.”

Why Doctors Buy Bigger Homes

(The Washington Post)

A new National Bureau of Economic Research study “suggests that the threat of malpractice lawsuits may shape behavior well beyond the clinic, pushing doctors to buy fancier, more extravagant homes in states where those assets are excluded from bankruptcy.” This behavior includes dentists.

A 9/11 Child Tooth Study (Downtown Express)

Mount Sinai Hospital researchers are asking lower Manhattan residents to send them their kids’ baby teeth—“which they will use to study the spread of pollutants after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and its effects on pregnant mothers and their children.”

“Ultra-Processed” Foods Hurting America’s Diet (Los Angeles Times)

“Researchers who have analyzed America’s eating habits say they can sum up what’s wrong with our diet in just two words: ultra-processed foods,” according to this report. These unhealthy foods make up nearly 60% of all calories Americans consume in a typical day. Perhaps some diet guidance from wise dentists is warranted.