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. 2002 Nov;29(11):1021-9.
doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2842.2002.00977.x.

Changes in Chewing Ability With Ageing: A 7-year Study of Older Adults


Changes in Chewing Ability With Ageing: A 7-year Study of Older Adults

D Locker. J Oral Rehabil. .


One of the most important consequences of oral diseases and disorders is a reduction in the ability to chew. This paper reports the results of a study of changes in chewing ability in a population of community-dwelling older adults who were aged 50 years and over when first recruited. Data were collected at baseline, and at 3 and 7-year follow-ups using an index of chewing capacity consisting of six indicator foods, a four-item measure of the psychosocial impact of chewing dysfunction and a single-item rating of satisfaction with chewing ability. The percentage of subjects who reported a problem chewing increased from 24.0% at baseline to 25.2% at 3 years and 33.8% at 7 years. The increase in prevalence over 7 years was 5.3% in dentate subjects aged 64 years and under at baseline and 26.1% in edentulous subjects aged 65 years and over. Overall, there were increases in the proportion reporting some psychosocial impact and the proportion reporting dissatisfaction with their ability to chew. Patterns of change with respect to these variables differed across groups defined by age and dental status. Change scores computed from baseline and the 7-year follow-up indicated considerable within-subject change, with some individuals improving and some deteriorating. However, they confirmed that overall there was a decline in oral functioning in this population and that older edentulous subjects showed the greatest propensity to change. Factors which predict the patterns of change identified by this study need to be explored in order to enhance our understanding of changes in the chewing ability of this population as it ages.

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