Persistent oral health problems associated with comorbidity and impaired diet quality in older adults

Regan L. Bailey, Jenny Harris Ledikwe, Helen Smiciklas-Wright, Diane C. Mitchell, Gordon L. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Chewing, swallowing, and mouth pain (CSP) are identified as indictors of nutritional risk in older adults. Previous research has shown that oral health problems in community-living older rural adults were associated with increased hospitalization. The purpose of this study was to characterize older adults with self-reported persistent CSP problems at baseline and one-year follow-up. Participants were from the Geisinger Rural Aging Study, either with persistent oral problems (PCSP; n=22) or without problems (NCSP; n=125). Demographic, health, and anthropometric data were collected via home visit; diet information was assessed by five, 24-hour recalls collected over 10 months. PCSP subjects reported almost twice the number of medications (4.2 vs 2.6, respectively, P=.008) and diseases (7.0 vs 4.2, respectively, P=.001), with higher occurrence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, peptic ulcers/gastritis, and angina. PCSP participants had lower Healthy Eating Index scores (66.6 vs 70.6, respectively, P=.04), significantly lower intakes of vitamin A, and higher prevalence of inadequate intakes of vitamins B-6 and A. These results indicate that impaired intake of certain foods and nutrients is associated with persistent oral health problems. Oral status is an important component of overall health and should be monitored for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1276
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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