In Peru, 90% of the population suffers from some type of tooth decay, and untreated tooth decay may lead to the removal of teeth. In many Peruvians, removed teeth are not replaced, which cause a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint—which, in turn, is related to hearing loss.
“The total or partial lack of teeth causes a progressively increasing hearing loss over time, affecting the affected individuals’ self-esteem, self-worth, and social and emotional relationships,” says Jim Romero Lloclla, the Peruvian Ministry of Health’s national strategy coordinator for dental health.
Hearing loss due to tooth decay is more common among women, he says.
In Peru, eight in 10 elderly people suffer from a complete lack of teeth, and 85% of the total population suffers from a gum disease that may cause the loss of teeth.
The government has instituted “Smile Forever Peru,” a national campaign promoting dental health. If successful, improved hearing health may be an important additional benefit.