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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2018 Apr;18(4):592-598. doi: 10.1111/ggi.13220. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Association between number of teeth, use of dentures and musculoskeletal frailty among older adults.

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Division of Population & Patients Health, King's College London Dental Institute at Guy's, King's College and St. Thomas' Hospitals, London, UK.



To assess whether there is a relationship between musculoskeletal frailty and number of teeth/denture use, and whether nutritional intake explains this relationship, in a sample of older Americans.


Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011/2012 were used. Handgrip strength was used to show musculoskeletal frailty. Number of teeth and denture use were examined by calibrated dentists. Information on sociodemographic factors, nutrients intake and general health status were collected through interviews. Logistic regression models were used to assess the association between number of teeth/denture use by participants having <20 teeth and musculoskeletal frailty. Poisson regression analyses were used to assess the association between number of teeth/denture use and nutritional intake.


There was no statistically significant difference in musculoskeletal frailty between denture users with <20 teeth and those with ≥20 teeth. Non-denture users with <20 teeth had higher odds for musculoskeletal frailty (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.04-1.68). Accounting for nutritional intake explained >30% of this relationship. Having fewer teeth was associated with deficiency of nutritional intake regardless of denture use.


Denture use is associated with lower chances of musculoskeletal frailty among older Americans. Nutritional intake explained approximately one-third of the association, but most of the relationship was attributed to comorbidity. The findings imply that dental status might play a role in musculoskeletal frailty. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 592-598.


aging; dentures; hand strength; nutritional intake; tooth loss

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