Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-75dct Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T13:37:09.658Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Does the condition of the mouth and teeth affect the ability to eat certain foods, nutrient and dietary intake and nutritional status amongst older people?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007

A Sheiham*
Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London Medical School, London WC1E 6BT, UK
J Steele
The Dental School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4BW, UK
*Corresponding author: Email
Rights & Permissions [Opens in a new window]


Core share and HTML view are not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

To assess how the dental status of older people affected their stated ability to eat common foods, their nutrient intake and some nutrition-related blood analytes.


Cross-sectional survey part of nation-wide British National Diet and Nutrition Survey: people aged 65 years and older. Data from a questionnaire were linked to clinical data and data from four-day weighed dietary records. Two separate representative samples: a free-living and an institutional sample. Seven-hundred-and-fifty-three free-living and 196 institution subjects had a dental exam and interview.


About one in five dentate (with natural teeth) free-living people had difficulty eating raw carrots, apples, well-done steak or nuts. Foods such as nuts, apples and raw carrots could not be eaten easily by over half edentate (without natural teeth but with dentures) people in institutions. In free-living, intakes of most nutrients and fruit and vegetables were significantly lower in edentate than dentate. Perceived chewing ability increased with increasing number of teeth. Daily intake of non-starch polysaccharides, protein, calcium, non-haem iron, niacin, vitamin C and intrinsic and milk sugars were significantly lower in edentate. Plasma ascorbate and retinol were significantly lower in the edentate than dentate. Plasma ascorbate was significantly related to the number of teeth and posterior contacting pairs of teeth.


The presence, number and distribution of natural teeth are related to the ability to eat certain foods, affecting nutrient intakes and two biochemical measures of nutritional status.

Research Article
Copyright © CABI Publishing 2001


1Geissler, CA, Bates, JF. The nutritional effects of tooth loss. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1984; 39: 478–89.Google ScholarPubMed
2Moynihan, PJ. The relationship between diet, nutrition and dental health: an overview and update for the 90s. Nutr. Res. Rev. 1995; 8: 193224.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
3Papas, AS, Palmer, CA, Rounds, MC, Russell, RM 1998; The effects of denture status on nutrition. SCD Special Care In Dentistry 18: 1725.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
4Chauncey, HH, Muench, ME, Kapur, KK, Wayler, AH. The effect of the loss of teeth on diet and nutrition. Int. Dent. J. 1984; 34: 98104.Google ScholarPubMed
5Papas, AS, Palmer, CA, Rounds, MC, Herman, J, McGrandy, R, Hatz, S, et al. Longitudinal relationships between nutrition and oral health. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 1989; 561: 124–42.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
6Hollister, MC, Weintraub, JA. The association of oral status with systemic health, quality of life, and economic productivity. J. Dent. Educ. 1993; 57: 901–11.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
7Brodeur, JM, Laurin, D, Vallee, R, Lachapelle, D. Nutrient intake and gastrointestinal disorders related to masticatory performance in the edentulous elderly. J. Prosth. Dent. 1993; 70: 468–73.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
8Leao, A, Sheiham, A. Relation between clinical dental status and subjective impacts on daily living. J. Dent. Res. 1995; 74(7): 1408–13.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
9Atchison, KA, Dolan, T. Development of the Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index. J. Dent. Educ. 1990; 54: 680–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
10Locker, D. The burden of oral disorders in a population of older people. Community Dent. Health 1992; 9: 109–24.Google Scholar
11Locker, D. Subjective reports of oral dryness in an older adult population. Community Dent. Oral Epidemiol. 1993; 21: 165–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
12Gilbert, GH, Heft, MW, Duncan, RP. Mouth dryness as reported by older Floridians. Community Dent. Oral Epidemiol. 1993; 21: 390–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
13Wayler, AH, Muench, ME, Kapur, KK, Chauncey, HH. Masticatory performance and food acceptability in persons with removable partial dentures, full dentures, and intact natural dentition. J. Gerontol. 1984; 39: 284–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
14Carlos, JP, Wolfe, MD. Methodological and nutritional issues in assessing oral health of aged subjects. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1989; 50: 1210–8.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
15Moynihan, PJ, Snow, S, Jepson, NJA, Butler, TJ. Intake of non-starch polysaccharide (dietary fibre) in edentulous and dentate persons: an observational study. Br. Dent. J. 1994; 177: 243–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
16Krall, E, Hayes, C, Garcia, R. How dentition status and masticatory function affect nutrition intake. J. Am. Dent. Assoc. 1998; 129: 1261–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
17Ranta, K, Touminen, R, Paunio, I, Sepponen, R. Dental status and intake of food items among an adult Finnish population. Gerodontics 1988; 4: 32–5.Google ScholarPubMed
18Joshipura, KJ, Willett, WE, Douglass, CW. The impact of edentulousness on food and nutrient intake. J. Am. Dent. Assoc. 1996; 127: 459–67.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
19Sheiham, A, Steele, JG, Marcenes, W, Finch, S, Walls, AWG. The impact of oral health on ability to eat certain foods; findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of older people in Great Britain. Geriodontol. 1999; 16: 1120.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
20Sheiham, A, Steele, JG, Marcenes, W, Lowe, C, Finch, S, Bates, CJ, Prentice, A, Walls, AWG. The relationship between dental status, nutrient intake and nutritional status, amongst older people. J. Dent. Res. (in press).Google Scholar
21Finch, S, Doyle, W, Lowe, C, Bates, CJ, Prentice, A, Smithers, G, Clarke, PC. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: People aged 65 and over. Vol. 1: Report of the Diet and Nutrition Survey. London: HMSO, 1998.Google Scholar
22Steele, JG, Sheiham, A, Marcenes, W, Walls, AWG. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: People aged 65 years and over. Vol. 2: Report of the Oral Health Survey. London: HMSO, 1998.Google Scholar
23Kelly, M, Steele, J, Nuttall, N, et al. Adult Dental Health Survey. Oral Health in the United Kingdom 1998. London: HMSO, 2000.Google Scholar
24Leake, JL. An index of chewing ability. J. Public Health Dent. 1990; 4: 262–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
25Aukes, JNSC, Kayser, AF, Felling, AJA. The subjective experience of mastication in subjects with shortened dental arches. J. Oral Rehab. 1988; 15: 321–4.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
26Makila, E. Effects of complete dentures on the dietary habits and serum thiamine, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid levels in edentulous persons. Suom Hammaslaak. Toim. 1968; 64: 107–52.Google ScholarPubMed
27Makila, E. Effects of complete dentures on dietary intake and serum levels of pantothenic acid, folic acid and iron in edentulous persons. Suom Hammaslaak. Toim. 1969; 65: 299311.Google ScholarPubMed
28Posner, BM, Jette, A, Smigelski, C, Miller, D, Mitchell, P. Nutritional risk in New England elders. J. Gerontol. 1994; 49: M123–32.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed