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J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 Jan;103(1):61-6.

Nutritional status of the older adult is associated with dentition status.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park 20742, USA.



This study was designed to examine associations between the number of posterior occlusal pairs of teeth and the nutritional status of older adults participating in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) survey.


Impaired dentition was assessed by number of posterior occluding pairs of teeth (grinding teeth, n=8 pairs) and complete denture status. Nutritional status was measured by nutrient intake, Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score, serum values, and body mass index (BMI). Subjects/setting Data from 5,958 participants in NHANES III ages 50 years and over with dental examination were included in the analysis. Statistical analyses performed Analysis of covariance and multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to examine associations between number of tooth pairs and nutritional status indicators controlled for potential confounders.


Compared with individuals with five to eight posterior occluding pairs (HEI=68.2), those with impaired dentition (no posterior pairs, one to four pairs remaining, or full dentures) had consistently lower HEI scores (HEI=64.3, 66.5, and 66.5, respectively), consumed fewer servings of fruits, and had lower serum values of beta carotene and ascorbic acid. Participants with one to four posterior pairs also had a higher mean BMI (28.0) than those with five or more pairs (27.2). Participants in one or more groups with impaired dentition had lower dietary intake levels of vitamin A, carotene, folic acid, and vitamin C, and scored less well on diet variety, cholesterol, and sodium components of the HEI.


Results show that dental health is closely associated with nutritional status and suggest that status of dentition should be considered in nutritional counseling and assessment of older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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