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Good oral health prevents sarcopenia and diabetes in elderly, finds

Good oral health prevents sarcopenia and diabetes in elderly, finds

Recent
research published in the Plus One Journal has revealed that improvement
in oral health, including the maintenance of masticatory function and remaining
teeth, may contribute to the prevention of sarcopenia and diabetes mellitus in
older adults.

Oral
diseases are extremely prevalent, with more than 3.5 billion individuals
affected worldwide. Oral frailty has been reported to be a risk factor for
physical frailty, sarcopenia, disability, and all-cause mortality in a
longitudinal study. Although oral health might affect the overall health of an
individual, it has been neglected in the public health domain.

Therefore,
Takafumi Abe and colleagues from the Center for Community-Based Healthcare
Research and Education (CoHRE), Organization for Research and Academic
Information, Shimane University, Izumo City, Shimane, Japan carried out the
present study with the sole aim to examine the number of teeth and masticatory
function as oral health indices and clarify their roles in the pathogenesis of
sarcopenia and diabetes mellitus in community-dwelling older adults.

This
cross-sectional study was conducted with 635 older adults. The number of teeth
and masticatory function (measured by the number of gummy jelly pieces
collected after chewing) were evaluated by dental hygienists.

Sarcopenia
status was assessed using handgrip strength, skeletal muscle index, calf
circumference, and a possible sarcopenia diagnosis based on the Asian Working
Group for Sarcopenia 2019. Diabetes mellitus status was defined as a hemoglobin
A1c level ≥6.5% or self-reported diabetes.

A
multivariable logistic regression model was used to analyze the association
between oral health, sarcopenia, and diabetes mellitus after adjusting for
confounders.

The
following findings were recorded-

  1. After
    adjusting for all confounders, logistic regression analysis showed that the
    number of remaining teeth was negatively associated with a low level of
    handgrip strength (odds ratio [OR], 0.961; 95% confidence interval [CI],
    0.932–0.992) and possible sarcopenia (OR, 0.949; 95% CI, 0.907–0.992).
  2. Higher
    levels of masticatory function were also negatively associated with a low level
    of handgrip strength (OR, 0.965; 95% CI, 0.941–0.990) and possible sarcopenia
    (OR, 0.941; 95% CI, 0.904–0.979).
  3. Logistic
    regression analysis showed that the number of remaining teeth and a higher
    level of masticatory function were negatively associated with diabetes mellitus
    (OR, 0.978; 95% CI, 0.957–0.999; OR, 0.976; 95% CI, 0.960–0.992, respectively).

Hence,
it was concluded that “improvement in oral health, including the maintenance of
masticatory function and remaining teeth, may contribute to the prevention of
sarcopenia and diabetes mellitus in older adults.”

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