Tooth loss and untreated caries predict food intake limitations
Today at the 45th Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the American Association for Dental Research, researcher Hongjun Yin, DB Consulting Group, Inc., Alpharetta, Ga., USA, will present a study titled "Tooth Loss and Untreated Caries Predict Food Intake Limitations." The AADR Annual Meeting is being held in conjunction with the 40th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research.
In this study, researchers examined the association between untreated dental caries and tooth retention and limitations in food intake using data for 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 prevalence was about 11 percentage points higher for adults with untreated decay greater than one versus untreated decay equal to zero, whether they retained few or most of their teeth. Limited food intake prevalence was about 13 percentage points higher among adults with few teeth vs. most whether untreated decay equal to zero or one, or greater than one. 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.
The findings indicate that having few teeth and/or tooth decay limit people's food intake, which may affect a person's quality of life.