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Masticatory Function and Nutritional Status: Considerations for an Ageing Population

  • Martin Schimmel
  • Laurence Genton
  • Gerry McKenna
Chapter

Abstract

Nowadays, many people retain their natural teeth until late in life as a result of the large success of preventive strategies. However, there is still a very high prevalence of edentulism and partial edentulism especially in elderly patients, and many of these patients are provided with inadequate dental prostheses. In addition, many elderly citizens suffer from systemic diseases leading to increased drug prescription with age. This may have direct or indirect negative effects on the health and integrity of oral tissues like teeth, mucosa or muscles. There is growing evidence that a close interaction between the general medical condition and oral health exists. From a dental point of view, the chewing ability and capacity and its interaction with the nutritional status seem to be especially important. For example, complete denture wearers present a significant oral disability, which often leads to a gradual deterioration of their individual dietary habits. The improvement of maximum bite force and chewing efficiency may be an important prerequisite for an adequate nutrition. Those functional parameters can often be improved by providing functional dental prostheses or by stabilizing complete dentures with endosseous implants. Nevertheless, an improvement of the nutritional status can only be achieved through a close collaboration with dieticians or clinical nutritionists.

Keywords

Nutrition Quality of life Orofacial function Dental state Dental prosthesis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The text is partly based on ‘Schimmel M, Katsoulis J, Genton L, Müller F. “Masticatory function and nutrition in old age”. Swiss Dental Journal. 2015;125(4):449–54’.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Schimmel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laurence Genton
    • 3
  • Gerry McKenna
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Gerodontology, Department of Reconstructive Dentistry and GerodontologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of Gerodontology and Removable ProsthodonticsUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Clinical Nutrition, University Hospitals GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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