Impact of oral health on diet among the ageing population in Saudi Arabia
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date28/06/2023
BACKGROUND: In older adults, there are many factors that determine dietary intake, including an individual's socio-economic status, physical well-being, and general state of health. Another crucial factor is dental status. The aim of this study is to explore how dental status impacts the perceived ability to eat particular foods and the nutrient intake of older adults in Saudi Arabia. METHODS: The study conducted an analysis of the sample gathered from the Saudi Demographic and Health Survey. The data were collected from an online food frequency questionnaire. Data related to health behaviour, general and oral health information, and socio-economic data were collected using an online questionnaire. The oral health status was assessed clinically. Participants in the 60 years and above age category (n = 326) attended clinical examinations, and (n =275) of them completed all elements of the study. To analyse the cross-sectional link between nutrient intake, food selection, and dental status, multiple regression methods were performed. RESULTS: The participants’ mean age was 70.29 years (range 60-104) with an SD of 8.71. 62.6% had 20 or more teeth, 25.2% had less than 20 teeth, and 9.5% were edentulous. Participants with no dentures constituted the largest group (78.8.6%). which means the most participants had natural teeth or were edentulous without dentures. 70.8% only visited the dentist when there is a problem. The mean DMFT for older adults was 15.5 with an SD of 9.4. The edentulous participants were more likely to report having difficulty eating all 15 examined foods listed compared to the dentate participants. There were significant differences in having difficulty eating food, with 95% CI between all 15 foods and all number of teeth groups except for cheese; there was no significant difference between people with 1-19 teeth and 20 or more teeth. Also, the findings demonstrate that edentate, denture-wearing seniors consumed lower levels of important nutrients, which are protein, carbohydrates, fibre, and fat, also calories, compared to dentate people. However, edentulous people not wearing any dentures consumed more nutrients than denture-wearing older adults. The subjects with natural teeth and no dentures generally had an energy intake greater than that recommended by the US government: 2513.6 Kcal compared to 2000 Kcal. This was mirrored in terms of major dietary constituents, with a protein intake of 111.9g compared to 57g and a carbohydrate intake of 341.5g compared to 130g. This population was relatively unusual in achieving the recommended intake of dietary fibre of 29.2g compared to 28g. In contrast, the other participants with compromised oral function (teeth and partial dentures, teeth and complete dentures in one jaw, edentulous with complete dentures, and edentulous and with no denture) had lower than the recommended energy intake at 1244.3–1628.2 Kcal and lower dietary fibre intake (15.5–21.3 g). Their protein intake was close to the dietary recommendation, with participants with full dentures consuming on average 51.9g, and the edentulous without dentures and people wearing partial dentures consuming 69.6g and 67.5g, respectively. In addition, for carbohydrates all participants were above the recommended goal. There were no observed differences between groups in relation to the perceived ability to eat and consume nutrition after socio-demographic and health behavioural had been adjusted, except for age groups. CONCLUSION: In this older adult sample, it can be concluded that weakened dental status has a possible influence on the foods that the individuals choose to eat, and consequently, their consumption of crucial nutrients. Therefore, future studies could concentrate on the development of dental interventions together with dietary counselling. This is likely to encourage individuals in this high-risk population to embrace healthy eating habits.