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Objective: The objectives of this study were to evaluate the oral health status i.e., dental decay, periodontal disease, number of teeth, and number of functional units and investigate the relationship between oral health status and nutritional status in the pre-ageing and ageing groups.
Materials and Methods: The oral health status and nutritional status of 290 persons in Tubtao subdistrict, Thoeng district, Chiangrai province, Thailand, aged 50 years and over were evaluated. Study measurements included: a) questionnaire to assess sociodemographic, behavioral, general health, and oral health data of the participants; and b) oral examinations to evaluate caries, periodontal status, oral lesions, number of teeth, and number of functional units (FUs). Nutritional status was determined using the Short-Form Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA-SF). Association between participants’ characteristics, oral health status, and nutritional status were tested using chi-square analysis.
Results: Participants aged 50-88 years were classified into pre-ageing group (50-59 years) and ageing group (60 years). One hundred and fifteen subjects were classified as pre-ageing group and 175 were in the ageing group. In the pre-ageing group, most participants had oral health status better than the ageing group. According to MNA-SF, about 46% and 3.5% of the pre-ageing group were at risk of malnutrition and malnutrition, respectively. Living condition and periodontal status showed significant difference of nutritional status (p<0.05). In the ageing group, the results of the nutritional status according to MNA-SF and BMI were the same as those in the pre-ageing group. The participants’ characteristics related to education, living condition, systemic diseases, feeling of mouth dryness, and avoidance of eating vegetables and fruits significantly associated with nutritional status (p<0.05). Furthermore, significant association were observed between the number of functional units, number of present teeth, and MNA-SF (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The results of the study indicated that the participants in both groups had poorer oral health than the reports of the 7th Thailand Oral Health Survey of northern Thailand and the number of present teeth, and number of FUs of the ageing participants had association with nutritional status. Many demographic characteristics of the ageing group also related to nutritional state. The results imply the need to develop effective strategies for improving oral health care of the populations and prevent oral and dental diseases and maintain the existing natural dentition. The strategies of preventive programme should include improving of oral hygiene care, providing oral health care, promotion of social activities for the pre-ageing and ageing people, and providing diet counseling. It is without doubt that the preventive programme should be commenced before they reach old age.
Keywords: BMI, functional units, MNA-SF, nutrition, older persons, oral health
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