Scientists funded by the Agricultural Research Service have found strong evidence that tooth loss in the elderly can be minimized if people get their recommended dietary allowance of calcium and vitamin D. They looked at 145 healthy volunteers older than 65 who completed a 3-year, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, and a 2-year follow-up after discontinuation of the study’s supplements. During the course of the randomized study, 13 percent of those who took the supplements lost one or more teeth, but more than twice that number (27 percent) in the placebo group lost teeth in the same time period. What’s more, during the two-year follow-up, those who consumed more than 1,000 mg of calcium daily had half the risk of tooth loss as those who consumed less than 1,000 mg. Tooth loss imposes psychological, social and physical impairment on those affected. While more studies are needed to confirm these findings, the implications may lead to an expanded array of treatments and greater emphasis on nutrition education.
(Source: Agricultural Research Service)
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