Study Examines Oral Health and Frailty

Researchers with the Department of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Hyogo College of Medicine in Japan report physical frailty in older adults may affect the oral hygiene status of the remaining dentition. The study, “Relationship Between Oral Environment and Frailty Among Older Adults Dwelling in a Rural Japanese Community: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study,” published in BMC Oral Health, observed 308 elderly patients. Of these subjects, 65.9% were considered physically robust, 27.6% were classified as pre-frail, and 6.5% were categorized as frail.

The team measured participants’ remaining teeth, denture usage, oral hygiene status, xerostomia status, and salivary microbial diversity.

Investigators found the proportion of participants with poor oral hygiene was significantly higher in the frail group than in the other two. Diversity in the oral microflora was limited in the frail group compared to the robust group, and subjects considered frail had fewer remaining teeth than other subjects. These findings suggest the number of remaining teeth may be associated with bacterial count, according to researchers.

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