Association of oral health with body weight: a prospective study in community-dwelling older adults

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To prevent involuntary weight loss in older people, the knowledge about factors affecting body weight (BW) is essential. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the longitudinal associations of multiple oral health aspects with BW in community-dwelling older adults.


This analysis is based on prospective data with a 10-year follow-up of 657 Dutch community-dwelling older adults (age 66.4 ± 5.8 years, 54% female) from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Participants’ characteristics, BW, and 12 oral health variables (teeth, dentures, nine oral problems, self-rated oral health) were assessed in 2005/07 and 2015/16. The association between oral health and BW was analyzed by mixed models and adjusted for demographic, socio-economic, smoking, health, and functional aspects considering data of both assessments.


Mean BW was 79.1 ± 13.3 kg at baseline (B) and 77.6 ± 13.8 kg at follow-up (FU). At baseline, 29.6% of the participants reported being edentulous (FU:34.4%) and 55.8% to wear dentures (FU:62.3%). Dental pain while chewing was the oral problem with the lowest (B:5.2%, FU:6.6%) and xerostomia with the highest prevalence at both examinations (B:24.3%, FU:30.0%). Most participants rated their oral status as healthy (B:65.2%, FU:66.9%). Neither edentulism and denture use nor oral problems showed a longitudinal association with BW. In contrast, self-rated oral health was associated with BW (b = 0.724, SE = 0.296, p = 0.015) after adjusting for multiple confounders.


In community-dwelling older adults self-rated oral health may indicate changes in body weight in the long term. Therefore, this simple measure could serve to identify a risk for weight loss and to initiate oral interventions in clinical practice.

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The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) is largely supported by a grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, Directorate of Long-Term Care. The questionnaire on oral health was developed in cooperation with experts on oral health from the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Development of the questionnaire and data entry was supported in part through a grant from the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs (grant no. 031.20339). EK received a research fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to conduct this project (project number 398462750). MV was supported by the European Horizon 2020 PROMISS Project “PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects in the EU,” grant agreement no. 678732. The content only reflects the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. MV and DV were supported by the MalNutrition in the ELderly (MaNuEL) knowledge hub, the Joint Programming Initiative “Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life.” The funding agencies supporting this work are: Germany: German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) through the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), grant number 2815ERA09E; The Netherlands: The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

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Correspondence to Eva Kiesswetter.

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Kiesswetter, E., Keijser, B.J.F., Volkert, D. et al. Association of oral health with body weight: a prospective study in community-dwelling older adults. Eur J Clin Nutr (2019) doi:10.1038/s41430-019-0536-4

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