Individuals with few teeth or tooth decay are more likely to limit their food intake, says a new study. The researchers examined the association between untreated dental caries and tooth retention and limitations in food intake.
The study titled "Tooth Loss and Untreated Caries Predict Food Intake Limitations" will be presented at the 45th Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the American Association for Dental Research, researcher Hongjun Yin, DB Consulting Group, Inc., Alpharetta, Ga., USA. The AADR Annual Meeting is being held in conjunction with the 40th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research.
‘People who limit their food intake due to tooth loss or cavities lack vital nutrients that are needed for overall health.’
The researchers studied the data of 6,885 adults age 25 years or older from the 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
The dependent variable was whether a person reported limiting the kinds and amount of food eaten because of problems with his/her teeth or dentures (i.e., reported frequency of limited food intake [LF] was "sometimes to always" versus "seldom or never").
Explanatory variables of primary interest were dentate status - having most teeth (five or fewer missing teeth, having few teeth (6 - 27 missing teeth)), or no teeth - and number of teeth with untreated decay - no untreated decay, untreated decay equal to or less than one. The logistic regression model also included potential covariates - age, race/ethnicity, education, gender, family income relative to federal poverty level and self-reported general health.
The researchers obtained adjusted odds ratios and prevalence of limited food intake from their regression. All reported findings were significant at p<=0.05. About 60% of adults had most of their teeth and no untreated decay; among these persons the adjusted prevalence of limited food intake was eight percent.
Limited food intake was observed among 11 percent of adults with untreated decay. Limited food intake was observed among 13 percent of adults with few teeth.
Limited food intake prevalence did not differ between those with either no teeth or few teeth with no untreated decay. Other predictors of reporting limited food intake included being female, of other race/ethnicity, reporting fair or poor general health and low family income.