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Elderly Man Old Smile Missing Teeth

Malnutrition and Tooth Loss May be Linked Later in Life

A recent study suggests that a large percentage of mature adults may have malnutrition or be at risk for malnutrition. The same study found that those with fewer teeth were more likely to have malnutrition.


Participants in the study included 107 people age 65 and older who attended an urban northeast US dental school clinic between June 1, 2015 and July 15, 2016. The researchers used odontograms and radiographs to identify teeth numbers and locations. Malnutrition risk was calculated using the Self-Mini Nutritional Assessment (Self-MNA). The relationship between numbers of teeth and malnutrition risk were assessed using bivariate logistic regression.


The researchers found that more than 25% of the participants had malnutrition or were at risk for malnutrition. Participants with 10 to 19 teeth were more likely to be at risk for malnutrition.


The researchers also found that the participants with malnutrition had higher rates of weight loss, ate less, and more frequently reported that they suffered from dementia and/or depression and severe illnesses than those who had a normal nutrition status.


Researchers from Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition Program at Rutgers School of Health Professions led the study. It was published in the 2018 issue of the Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice.

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