Background: Several studies have reported that impaired dentition status is associated with poor nutritional intake. However, most of these studies are cross-sectional and thus are unable to clarify the temporal sequence.
Methods: We assessed the longitudinal relation between tooth loss and changes in consumption of fruits and vegetables and of nutrients important for general health among 31,813 eligible male health professionals.
Results: Subjects who lost five or more teeth had a significantly smaller reduction in consumption of dietary cholesterol and vitamin B12, greater reduction in consumption of polyunsaturated fat and smaller increase in consumption of dietary fiber and whole fruit than did subjects who had lost no teeth. Men who had lost teeth also were more likely to stop eating apples, pears and raw carrots.
Conclusions: The results support the temporal association between tooth loss and detrimental changes in dietary intakes, which could contribute to increased risk of developing chronic diseases.
Practice implications: Dietary evaluation and recommendations can be incorporated into dental visits to provide a greater benefit to patients.