Relationships between Oral Health and Nutritional Status of Older Adults

G. McKenna, P. F. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Objectives: The World Health Organisation has highlighted the paucity of research into the oral health needs of older adults. In particular, the relationships between oral health and nutritional status require further investigation and analysis. This study aimed to describe some of the relationships between the number of remaining occluding tooth contacts, oral health related quality of life and nutritional status of partially dentate older adults.

Methods: 45 partially dentate patients aged 65 years and older were recruited to the study after visiting a university dental hospital. An initial dental examination charted the remaining teeth including the number of occluding contacts. Oral health related quality of life was recorded using the 14 item Oral Health Impact Profile. Nutritional status was measured using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in addition to biochemical analysis of a haematological sample. Correlation between data values was measured using a Pearson's correlation coefficient (r).

Results: The patient sample was made up of 44% males and 56% females with a mean age of 72.4 years (range 65-84 years). With increasing age the patients' oral health related quality of life scores improved. (r=-0.25) Within the sample the number of occluding tooth contacts ranged from 6 to 11. It was found that as the number of occluding contacts increased, better oral health related quality of life scores were recorded. (r=-0.30) Generally mini nutritional assessment scores improved with increasing numbers of tooth contacts. (r=0.14) In addition, as the number of occluding teeth contacts increased total lymphocyte count (r=0.35), vitamin B12 (r=0.22) and serum folate (r=0.06) all increased.

Conclusions: In older patients increased numbers of tooth contacts are associated with better oral health related quality of life. Increasing numbers of occluding contacts are also associated with better MNA scores and some haematological indicators of nutritional status.
Original languageEnglish
Article number492
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue numberSpec. Iss B
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventIADR 88th General Session Meeting, Barcelona - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 14 Jul 201017 Jul 2010

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