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Objective: To investigate the prevalence of taste alteration in Thai older adults with dentures wearing and to study factors related to taste alteration, such as salivary flow rate, salivary pH, medical status, the number of Candida albicans, Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacilli species, and denture hygiene.
Materials and Methods: Fifty older adults aged over 60 years old and who wore dentures were included in this study. Filter paper disc taste test kits were used to assess taste sensation. The saliva spitting method was used to measure the participants' stimulated salivary flow rate. The MU dip slide test kits were used to determine the number of Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacilli species, and Candida albicans. Questionnaires were also made on smoking habit, denture hygiene practice, problems of taste sensation, and subjective reports of xerostomia.
Results: Only 4 out of 50 participants (8%) had normal taste sensation of all tastes. Umami had the highest mean recognition threshold, followed by sweet, salt, sour, and bitter taste. Denture hygiene did not have a statistically significant relationship with any taste sensations. Salivary pH and denture hygiene had statistically significant relationship with Candida albicans score (p-value = 0.016 for salivary pH and p-value = 0.003 for denture hygiene).
Conclusion: Denture hygiene had no significant relationship with a taste sensation. The number of Candida albicans showed a significant relationship between salivary pH and denture hygiene. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of maintaining good denture hygiene in older adults.
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