Cognitive function and oral health among community-dwelling older adults.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Both oral health problems and cognitive impairment are relatively common among older adults. Poorer oral health appears to contribute to a decline in quality of life and to be related to various medical conditions. Little is known about the relationship of cognitive function to oral health among community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: The sample included 1984 dentate community-dwelling older adults 60 years old or older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999-2002) who completed both the study cognitive measure and dental examination. Weighted descriptive and multivariate regression analyses were performed. RESULTS: Multivariate analyses showed that cognitive function was associated with oral health. Individuals with lower cognitive scores had a higher number of decayed and missing teeth and a higher proportion of periodontitis sites. The predicted number of decayed teeth increased by 0.01 with each 1-point decrease in the Digit Symbol Substitution Test score; the number of missing teeth increased by 0.02; and the percentage of sites with periodontal disease increased by 0.02. In addition, individuals' sociodemographic characteristics, health behavior, and regular dental checkups were significantly associated with oral health. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that community-dwelling elders with lower cognitive function scores have greater deterioration of oral health. This study provides a preliminary knowledge base for the development of early intervention strategies to address oral health problems among older adults.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wu, B; Plassman, BL; Crout, RJ; Liang, J

Published Date

  • May 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 63 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 495 - 500

PubMed ID

  • 18511753

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18511753

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1079-5006

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/gerona/63.5.495


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States