Poor oral health increases risk of frailty in older adults: Study

Frailty increases the risk for falls, disability, and even death.

Washington: Oral health is really important for over-all wellness, as a study has recently warned that tooth loss, gum disease, tooth decay and dry mouth is linked to increased risks of frailty in older adults, especially men.

According to researchers, men with dental issues were more likely to be frail than men without those issues. The findings indicated that the participants were considered frail if they had at least three of these issues: exhaustion, weak grip strength, slow walking speed, weight loss, or low levels of physical activity.

Frailty is the medical term for becoming more vulnerable to declining health or the inability to perform the activities of daily living. Someone who is frail can be weak, have less endurance and be less able to function well.

Frailty increases the risk for falls, disability, and even death. The team examined the relationship between poor oral health and risks for becoming frail in 7,735 British men.

Initially, they were first examined in 1978 to 1980 when they were 40 to 59 years old. Later, in 2010 to 2012, the team examined 1,722 surviving participants aged 71 to 92.

They measured their height, weight, walking tests and grip strength. The exam included a dental exam.

The participants answered questions about their dental health, including if they had dry mouth. The results indicated that 20 percent of participants had no teeth, 64 percent had fewer than 21 teeth, a 54 percent of participants had gum disease, 29 percent of participants had at least two symptoms of dry mouth and 34 percent of participants rated their oral health as "fair to poor'.

The researchers also noted that complete tooth loss, dry mouth, and additional oral health concerns were especially linked to developing frailty. They research is published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

( Source : ANI )
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