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FUNDAMENTALS OF OCCLUSION AND MASTICATORY FUNCTION IMPACT OF ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS ON TOOTH LOSS Abstract Background: Seniors recognize the need for dental care in maintaining quality of life. Research has identified behaviors that are associated with improved dental health. Objective: The objective of this study is to determine the association of certain attitudes and behaviors upon tooth loss. Method: This study obtained data by random selection from patients in the UOP School of Dentistry via paper survey. Results: A statistically significant association was evident between tooth loss and seeing a dentist only when absolutely necessary, as well as going five years or more without seeing a dentist. Another significant correlation was made between smoking cigarettes and the use of cocaine or methamphetamines and tooth loss. Factors found to have positive correlations with having 10 or more teeth were found when a dentist was seen twice a year or more frequently, having full time employment for most of the patient’s life, tooth grinding at night, the daily use of one or more glasses of alcohol, and brushing and flossing twice a day. Conclusion: Patients with fewer than ten teeth express attitudes which emphasize the value of their teeth similarly to those patients who have more than ten teeth. Behavior differences between the two groups are various and significant. Long-term retention of teeth can be positively influenced by the avoidance of cigarette smoking, and cocaine and methamphetamine use. Twice -yearly or more regular dental visits, the maintenance of full-time employment, and twice daily brushing and flossing were associated with tooth retention. Cite this article: Giusti L, Salmon ES, White R. Impact of Attitudes and Behaviors on Tooth Loss. Stoma Edu J. 2014;1(2): 123-130. Lola Giusti1a*, Eric S. Salmon1b, Richard White2c 1. Department of Dental Practice, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA, USA 2. Department of Integrated Reconstructive Dental Sciences, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA, USA a. DDS, CERT, Associate Professor b. BS, DDS, Assistant Professor c. BA, DDS, Associate Professor Keywords: dentistry, public health, tooth loss, geriatric dentistry Introduction The 2000 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health (1) found that “oral health is integral to overall health” and that a “silent epidemic of oral disease” exists in the United States. About 30 percent of adults 65 years and older are edentulous. This research study will look at tooth loss and its association with individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. Attitudes Seniors recognize the need for good dental care. Macek (2) found in his evaluation of NHIS data that the “vast majority of dentate adults age 55 years old or older … recognize the importance of regular checkups and preventive service”. In Anderson’s survey of the elderly, he was told that dental care had been expensive but had been given priority (3). In Mckenzie’s interviews of senior citizens, he was told “teeth are important” (4). Homeless drug abusers in Stockholm placed a high value on their oral health and wanted to take steps to maintain it when they were interviewed during a rehabilitative phase of life and not during a period of drug abuse (5). Dental fear may be reflected in an individual’s attitude. Pohjola (6) found that people with higher levels of dental fear have poorer dental condition and that the extent of this fear varies by year of birth. STOMA.EDUJ (2014) 1 (2) Received: 28 August 2014 Accepted: 08 October 2014 * Corresponding author: Associate Professor Lola Giusti, DDS, CERT, Department of Dental Practice, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, 155 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA Tel: 415.351.7104; Fax: 415. 749.4338; e-mail: 123