Limited longitudinal studies exist to evaluate whether poor oral health and functions affect the incidence of deteriorating nutritional status. We investigated if there were longitudinal associations between oral frailty, defined as accumulated deficits in oral health, and deteriorating nutritional status among community-dwelling older adults.
The study population consisted of 191 men and 275 women (mean age, 76.4 years) from the Takashimadaira Study. Multifaced oral health assessment was performed at baseline, and oral frailty was defined as having ≥3 of the following six components: fewer teeth, low masticatory performance, low articulatory oral motor skill, low tongue pressure, and difficulties in chewing and swallowing. Nutritional status assessment was performed at baseline and two-year follow-up using the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF). Deteriorating nutritional status was defined as a decline in the nutritional status categories based on the MNA-SF score during the study period. The association between oral frailty and deteriorating nutritional status was assessed using logistic regression analyses.
Oral frailty was observed in 67 (14.4%) participants at baseline. During the study, 58 (12.4%) participants exhibited deteriorating nutritional status. After adjusting for potential confounders, oral frailty was significantly associated with deteriorating nutritional status (adjusted odds ratio, 2.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-4.63).
Community-dwelling older adults with oral frailty had an increased risk of deteriorating nutritional status.