Topical Area: Aging and Chronic Disease
Poor oral health status has been suggested to negatively impact the food selection leading to malnutrition. There is lack of evidence on the association of oral health and nutritional status amongst elderly subjects in India. The present study was undertaken to assess the association of oral health and nutritional status amongst elderly subjects in India.
Methods : A community based cross-sectional study was conducted during 2015-2016 in District Nainital, Uttarakhand state, India. A total of 1003 elderly population were enrolled from 30 clusters (villages) identified by using population proportionate to size sampling methodology. Information on socio demographic profile and anthropometric measurements was collected. Body mass index and Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) scale was calculated for assessment of nutritional status. A trained professional assessed the oral health status through physical examination. Dietary intake data were collected using 24h dietary recall methodology.
Results : We found that the prevalence of complete edentulism was 11%. Use of dentures was reported amongst only 9.6% subjects who were completely edentulous. Prevalence of underweight and malnutrition was significantly higher amongst subjects with complete loss of teeth, who were suffering with chewing problems and who did not wear dentures as compared to others.
Subjects who wore dentures had significantly lower prevalence of malnutrition as compared to the subjects who did not wear dentures. The 24 hour dietary recall found that nutrient intake of macronutrients such as energy, protein, fat (all p< 0.05) and micronutrients such as calcium and riboflavin (all p< 0.01) were significantly higher in subjects who used rehabilitative measures through use of dentures as compared to those who did not wear dentures.
We found that the poor oral health status of the elderly subjects resulted in poor nutritional status amongst them. The present study will help the dentists in educating the elderly about the importance of maintaining adequate oral health status for achieving optimal nutritional and weight status. In addition, improvement in primary as well as rehabilitative dental care services and oralhealth care assess by the dentists will prove to be an effective measure in improving the nutritional status of the elderly.
Funding Sources : Not Applicable