As the population ages, the risk of becoming malnourished increases. Research has shown that poor oral health can be a risk factor for malnutrition in institutionalized elderly. However, it remains unclear whether oral health problems, edentulousness and health-related quality of life also pose a risk for malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults. In this cross-sectional observational study, 1325 community-living elderly (≥75 years) were asked to complete questionnaires regarding nutritional status, oral status (edentulous, remaining teeth, or implant-supported overdentures), oral health problems, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), frailty, activities of daily living (ADL) and complexity of care needs. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed with nutritional status as dependent variable. Of the respondents, 51% (n = 521) were edentulous, 38.8% (n = 397) had remaining teeth and 10.2% (n = 104) had an implant-supported overdenture. Elderly with complex care needs were malnourished most frequently, followed by frail and robust elderly (10%, 4.5% and 2.9%, respectively). Malnourished elderly reported more frequent problems with chewing and speech when compared with well-nourished elderly (univariate analysis). However, multivariate analysis did not show an association between malnutrition and oral health problems and edentulousness, although HRQoL was associated with malnutrition (odds ratio (OR) 0.972, confidence interval (CI) 0.951–0.955). Based on the results of this cross-sectional study, it can be concluded that poor HRQoL is significantly associated with malnutrition; however, edentulousness and oral health problems are not.
- elderly patients