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Gerodontology. 2015 Jun;32(2):149-56. doi: 10.1111/ger.12079. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Tooth loss, chewing efficiency and cognitive impairment in geriatric patients.

Author information

1
Division of Gerodontology and Removable Prosthodontics, University of Geneva Dental School, Geneva, Switzerland.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, University Hospitals Geneva, Thônex, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with dementia have poorer oral health and fewer teeth than their peers without cognitive impairment.

OBJECTIVE:

The hypothesis of this study is that the number of natural teeth and the chewing efficiency are associated with cognitive functioning.

METHODS:

This cross-sectional study included 29 patients diagnosed with dementia aged 75 years or older and 22 controls who were either cognitively normal (n = 19) or with mild cognitive impairment (n = 3). Neuropsychological, nutritional and dental assessments were performed. The chewing efficiency was evaluated with a two-colour mixing test.

RESULTS:

Demented patients and controls presented with a mean of 4.9 and 6.5 teeth, respectively (n.s.). The number of natural teeth was not associated with dementia (p = 0.553). Same results were found for age (p = 0.746) and sex (p = 0.901). The chewing efficiency by visual inspection proved worse in participants with dementia than in the controls (p < 0.011) and explained 9.3% of the variance in the diagnosis of dementia. Neither dental state nor chewing efficiency was related to the nutritional state.

CONCLUSION:

Chewing efficiency seems stronger associated with cognitive impairment than the number of teeth. Hence, in a more holistic approach for the geriatric assessment, the dental examination may be complemented by a chewing efficiency test.

KEYWORDS:

chewing; dementia; elderly; geriatrics; mild cognitive impairment; risk factor

PMID:
24128078
DOI:
10.1111/ger.12079
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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