OBJECTIVES: To study if an association between total weekly intake of alcohol, type-specific weekly alcohol intake, alcoholic beverage preference, and the number of teeth among older people exists.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study including a total of 783 community-dwelling men and women aged 65-95 years who were interviewed about alcohol drinking habits and underwent a clinical oral and dental examination. Multiple regression analyses were applied for studying the association between total weekly alcohol consumption, beverage-specific alcohol consumption, beverage preference (defined as the highest intake of one beverage type compared with two other types), and the number of remaining teeth (≤ 20 versus >20 remaining teeth).
RESULTS: The odds ratio (OR) of having a low number of teeth decreased with the total intake of alcohol in women, with ORs for a low number of teeth of 0.40 [95 percent confidence interval (CI) 0.22-0.76] in women drinking 1-14 drinks per week and 0.34 (95 percent CI 0.16-0.74) in women with an intake of more than 14 drinks per week compared with abstainers. Similar relations could also be obtained for type-specific alcohol intake of wine and for wine and spirits preference among women. Men who preferred beer showed a decreased risk for a low number of teeth compared with men with other alcohol preferences.
CONCLUSION: In this study, alcohol consumption, wine drinking, and wine and spirits preference among women were associated with a higher number of teeth compared with abstainers. Among men, those who preferred beer also had a higher number of teeth.