Korean J Leg Med.  2022 Aug;46(3):71-78. 10.7580/kjlm.2022.46.3.71.

Estimating Age Using Nationwide Survey Data on the Number of Residual Teeth

  • 1Section of Human Identification, Division of Postmortem Investigation, Department of Forensic Medicine, National Forensic Service, Wonju, Korea
  • 2Section of Human Identification, Department of Forensic Medicine Investigation, National Forensic Service Seoul Institute, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Forensic Medicine Division, National Forensic Service Gwangju Institute, Jangseong, Korea
  • 4Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, School of Dentistry, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea
  • 5Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea


Given that tooth loss is a degenerative change, the number of residual teeth may be used to specify a particular age range as a marker for age estimation. This study examined changes in the number of teeth with age using a nationwide oral survey database and derived the age distribution of the Korean population according to the number of teeth. Data on the number of teeth and age were extracted from the oral examination data of the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) from 2016 to 2018. Statistical analyses of a complex sample survey were performed using weighted values. The distribution range of the number of teeth by age was broad. The proportion of young people decreased progressively as the number of remaining teeth decreased. In contrast, the proportion of those from the older age group decreased slightly as the number of teeth increased. The number of teeth was subdivided into groups of four, age was categorized into 5-year intervals, and the distribution of age groups by the number of teeth was analyzed. We attempted to determine the age group threshold at approximately 95th percentile for age. In summary, we found that if there were ≤4, 5-12, and 13-20 residual teeth, the estimated age was ≥60, ≥55, and ≥50 years, respectively, with an approximately 95% probability. When many teeth are lost and it is difficult to apply conventional dental age estimation methods, our method may assist in narrowing the age range, although it is not an accurate age determination method.


Age determination by teeth; Tooth loss; Dental health surveys
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