The purpose of this study was to provide the estimated percentile curves of occlusal pairs (OPs) in adults for use in oral health instruction. Data on number of present teeth (PT) were obtained from the National Report on the Survey of Dental Disease in 2005. Data from 1,535 males and 2,248 females, ranging in age from 18 to 82, were analysed. The mean number of OPs were used from our previous report. In that report we can be estimated OPs from the number of PT. In this study, PT data were replaced by the mean number of OPs. Estimated percentile curves in males, the 10th percentile of OPs was 13.7 at 60 years of age and 12.5 at 70. The 50th percentile of OPs was 12.2 at 50 years of age, 11.2 at 60 and 5.4 at 70. The 90th percentile of OPs was 7.6 at 50 years of age, 2.1 at 60 and 0 at 70. There appeared to be a cut off point after 10 OPs where the 50th to 97th percentile curves of OPs dropped off rapidly. In females, the 10th percentile of OPs was 13.4 at 60 years of age and 12.7 at 70. The 50th percentile of OPs was 11.5 at 50 years of age, 10.2 at 60 and 6.2 at 70. The 90th percentile of OPs was 7.1 at 50 years of age, 2.4 at 60 and 0 at 70. In females again the percentile curves dropped off after 10 OPs. Our results suggest that the loss of OPs may be accelerated when the number of OPs drops below 10. This means that patients need at least 10 OPs in order to maintain a stable oral status. The estimated percentile curves given in this study should be made available for use in adult oral health education.
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