Oral health determinants of incident malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults
Eva Kiesswetter, Linda M. Hengeveld, Bart JF Keijser, Dorothee Volkert, Marjolein Visser.
Journal of Dentistry, Volume 85, June 2019, Pages 73-80 doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2019.05.017
Malnutrition is a state of energy or protein deficiency, which causes measurable changes in body functions. Among older people malnutrition is widespread and is associated with frailty, functional decline and poor quality of life. Malnutrition can be caused by multiple different factors such as disease-related, functional, psychological, and socio-economic aspects. Moreover, it is assumed that the oral health status plays a role in the development of malnutrition, as mastication and insalivation are important steps in eating and digesting. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate the association of different oral health characteristics and the development of malnutrition during 9-years in community-dwelling older adults.
The data used were from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). We included participants aged 55-80 years without malnutrition at the beginning of the investigation. To describe oral health status, aspects relating to teeth, dentures, oral hygiene and oral problems (e.g. bleeding gums) as well as the self-rated oral health were assessed.
Of the 19 investigated oral health characteristics, toothache while chewing was identified to increase the risk of devolving malnutrition. In addition, for a poor self-rated oral health and the feeling of a dry mouth in combination with having no teeth we found indications that they might play a role in the long-term development of malnutrition. Regarding strategies to prevent malnutrition in older people these three aspects are of specific interest as they are modifiable and can be easily assessed by self-reports.
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