Middle-aged and older adults are retaining teeth and avoiding dentures, which should impact quality of life. The aims of our study were to investigate tooth loss and chewing ability and their association with oral- and general-health-related quality of life and life satisfaction.
A random sample of 45- to 54-year-olds from Adelaide, South Australia, was surveyed by self-complete questionnaire in 2004–2005 (n = 879, response rate = 43.8%). Health-related quality of life was measured with the Oral Health Impact Profile 14-item version and EuroQol Visual Analogue Scale instruments and life satisfaction by the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Functional tooth units were recorded at oral examinations performed by calibrated dentists on 709 persons (completion rate = 80.7%).
Number of functional teeth was positively associated with chewing ability (β = 0.31, P < 0.01). In multivariate analyses, controlling for number of functional teeth and other explanatory variables spanning dental visit pattern, dental behaviour, socio-demographics and socio-economic status, chewing ability was negatively associated with oral-health-related impacts (β = −0.37, P < 0.01) and positively associated with general health (β = 0.10, P < 0.05) and well-being (β = 0.16, P < 0.01).
Chewing ability was related to oral-health-related quality of life and general health, possibly reflecting the impact of chewing on food choice and enjoyment of meals and diet, and also indicated the importance of oral health to general well-being.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
EuroQol Visual Analogue Scale
intraclass correlation coefficient
Oral Health Impact Profile 14-item version
Satisfaction with Life Scale
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2006). Australia’s health 2006. AIHW cat no. AUS73. Canberra: AIHW.
Sanders, A. E., Slade, G. D., Carter, K. D., et al. (2004). Trends in prevalence of complete tooth loss among Australians, 1979–2002. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 28, 549–554.
Hildebrandt, G. H., Dominguez, B. L., Schork, M. A., et al. (1997). Functional units, chewing, swallowing, and food avoidance among the elderly. The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, 77, 588–595.
Gift, H. C. (1997). Oral health outcomes research—challenges and opportunities. In G. D. Slade (Ed.), Measuring oral health and quality of life. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Dental Ecology, (chapter 3).
Joshipura, K. J., Willett, W. C., & Douglass, C. W. (1996). The impact of edentulousness on food intake and nutrient intake. Journal of the American Dental Association, 127, 459–467.
Krall, E., Hayes, C., & Garcia, R. (1998). How dentition status and masticatory function affect nutrition intake. Journal of the American Dental Association, 129, 1261–1269.
Moynihan, P., & Bradbury, J. (2001). Compromised dental function and nutrition. Nutrition, 17, 177–178.
Nowjack-Raymer, R. E., & Sheiham, A. (2002). Association of edentulism and diet and nutrition in US adults. Journal of Dental Research, 82, 123–126.
Locker, D., & Gibson, B. (2006). The concept of positive health: a review and commentary on its application in oral health research. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 34, 161–173.
Dillman, D. A. (1978). Mail and telephone surveys. The total design method. Wiley: NY.
NIDR. (1987). Oral health surveys of the National Institute of Dental Research. Diagnostic criteria and procedures. Washington DC: US Department of Health and Human Services.
Slade, G. D. (1997). Derivation and validation of a short-form oral health impact profile. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 25, 284–290.
Allen, P. F., & Locker, D. (1997). Do item weights matter? An assessment using the oral health impact profile. Community Dental Health, 14, 133–138.
Slade, G. D., Nuttall, N., Sanders, A. E. et al. (2005). Impact of oral disorders in the United Kingdom and Australia. British Dental Journal, 198, 489–493.
Brooks, R. (1996). EuroQol: The current state of play. Health Policy, 37, 53–72.
EQ-5D homepage. www.euroqol.org. Accessed 10 August 2007.
Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction With Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–74.
Leake, J. L. (1990). An index of chewing ability. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 50, 262–267.
Carter, K. D., & Stewart, J. F. (2003). National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2002. AIHW cat. no. DEN 128. Adelaide: AIHW Dental Statistics and Research Unit.
Fleiss, J. L. (1986). The design and analysis of clinical experiments. NY: Wiley.
Sackett, D. L. (1979). Bias in analytic research. Journal of Chronic Diseases, 32, 51–63.
Fletcher, R. H., Fletcher, S. W., & Wagner, E. H. (1988). Clinical epidemiology. The essentials (2nd edn.). Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.
Mangione, T. W. (1995). Mail surveys. Improving the quality. CA: Sage.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Census 2006. Tables by location. www.abs.gov.au. Accessed 13 July 2007.
Steeh, C. G. (1981). Trends in nonresponse rates, 1952–1979. Public Opinion Quarterly, 45, 40–57.
Asch, D. A., Jedrziewski, M. K., & Christakis, N. A. (1997). Response rates to mail surveys published in medical journals. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 50, 1129–1136.
Yammarino, F. J., Skinner, S. J., & Childers, T. L. (1991). Understanding mail survey response behaviour. A meta-analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly, 55, 613–699.
Leake, J. L., Hawkins, R., & Locker, D. (1994). Social and functional impact of reduced posterior dental units in older adults. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 21, 1–10.
Slade, G. D., Spencer, A. J., & Roberts-Thomson, K. (1996). Tooth loss and chewing capacity among older adults in Adelaide. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 20, 76–82.
Peek, C. W., Gilbert, G. H., & Duncan, R. P. (2002). Predictors of chewing difficulty onset among dentate adults: 24-month incidence. Journal of Public Health and Dentistry, 62, 214–221.
Marcenes, W., Steele, J. G., Sheiham, A. et al. (2003). The relationship between dental status, food selection, nutrient intake, nutritional status, and body mass index in older people. Cad Saude Publica, 19, 809–816.
Burt, B. A., Ismail, A. I., Morrison, E. C. et al. (1990). Risk factors for tooth loss over a 28-year period. Journal of Dental Research, 69, 1126–1130.
Brennan, D. S., Spencer, A. J., & Roberts-Thomson, K. F. (2007). Caries experience among 45–54 year-olds in Adelaide, South Australia. Australian Dental Journal, 52, 122–127.
Funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council project grant (#250316).
About this article
Cite this article
Brennan, D.S., Spencer, A.J. & Roberts-Thomson, K.F. Tooth loss, chewing ability and quality of life. Qual Life Res 17, 227–235 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-007-9293-2
- 45- to 54-year-olds
- Tooth loss
- Chewing ability
- Quality of life