To evaluate the association between pairs of natural teeth and nutritional status among older adults.
This cross-sectional study evaluated a total of 569 home-dwelling adults from two southern Brazilian cities aged ≥60 years. Present teeth were counted, and pairs of natural teeth were defined as antagonistic teeth. Nutritional status was assessed using Mini Nutritional Assessment. Sociodemographic, behavioral, medical and dental history were collected. Sample was dichotomized into well-nourished and at nutritional risk (including at risk of malnutrition and malnourished). Multiple multivariate models were performed considering different categorizations of pairs of natural teeth.
For each number of present teeth, a decrease of 1.8% in the prevalence ratio (PR) for nutritional risk was detected (p = 0.040). For each pair of natural teeth, there was 4.4% decrease in PR for nutritional risk (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.917 – 0.997). No statistically significant association was found for pairs of natural anterior teeth (p = 0.222). For pairs of natural premolar, molar and posterior teeth, reductions of 15.4%, 22.8% and 11.5%, respectively, in PR for nutritional risk were observed (p < 0.05). The presence of at least two pairs of natural molars or three pairs of natural posterior teeth was significantly associated with nutritional risk (p < 0.05).
Older adults with fewer teeth or pairs of natural teeth, especially posterior teeth, presented poorer nutritional status.
Demonstrating threshold correlation between natural teeth and nutrition, data showed significant association between at least two pairs of natural molars or three pairs of natural posterior teeth and lower nutritional status.

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