Relationship between chewing ability and 4-year mortality in a cohort of 80-year-old Japanese people.

Research paper by T T Ansai, Y Y Takata, I I Soh, S S Akifusa, A A Sogame, N N Shimada, A A Yoshida, T T Hamasaki, S S Awano, M M Fukuhara, T T Takehara

Indexed on: 20 Feb '07Published on: 20 Feb '07Published in: Oral Diseases


Poor oral health has been reported to be a risk indicator of mortality, however, few data are available regarding the relationship between chewing ability and mortality. We examined the relationship between self-assessed chewing ability and mortality in elderly subjects.Prospective study.Participating in the study were 697 people (277 males, 420 females) from 1282 individuals (80 years old) residing in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Data on oral and systemic health status through questionnaires, accompanied by physical and laboratory blood examinations were obtained. Chewing ability was assessed based on the number of types of food each subject reported as able to chew by questionnaire.A total of 108 subjects died between 1998 and 2002. Those with the lowest number of chewable foods were associated with higher risk of mortality than those with the ability to chew all of the 15 types of food surveyed [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.38, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 1.07-5.29], though other parameters including current smoking, low serum albumin, and poor physical health status were more significant. Further, reduced chewing ability of soft foods increased the risk (HR = 2.65, 95% CI = 1.20-5.87).Chewing ability was associated with mortality in a population of 80-year-old community residents, and may be a predictor for survival rate.

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