Association between oral health and locomotive syndrome: a cross-sectional study in Japanese adults

BMC Geriatr. 2023 Dec 13;23(1):846. doi: 10.1186/s12877-023-04572-z.


Background: Many studies have examined the association between oral health, care needs, and physical function, but few have focused on the association between oral health and locomotive syndrome (LS). We examined the association between LS and oral-health status, such as the number of teeth and chewing function, in an adult population.

Methods: The study included 2888 participants who underwent examinations of motor function and oral health. Individuals with LS stage 1 or higher were classified as having LS, while others were classified as not having it. Logistic regression analysis was performed using the presence or absence of LS as the dependent variable and age, sex, smoking status, drinking habit, exercise habit, walking speed, history of stroke, bone density, body mass index, metabolic syndrome, chewing function, and the number of teeth as independent variables to calculate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each independent variable.

Results: When the number of teeth and chewing function were included separately in multivariate analyses, the OR for LS was significantly higher for participants with 0-19 teeth than for those with 28 teeth, and for participants with poor chewing function than for those with good function (adjusted ORs, 1.47 [95% CI, 1.01-2.15] and 1.73 [95% CI, 1.37-2.18], respectively). In analyses that included tooth number and chewing function as a combined independent variable, relative to individuals with 28 teeth and good masticatory function, the adjusted ORs were 2.67 (95% CI, 1.57-4.52) for those with 28 teeth and poor chewing function, 1.63 (95% CI, 1.20-2.22) for those with 20-27 teeth and poor chewing function, and 1.83 (95% CI, 1.06-3.18) for those with 0-19 teeth and poor chewing function.

Conclusion: Having fewer teeth and poor chewing function may be associated with LS. The maintenance of masticatory function may be important to prevent LS in adulthood.

Keywords: Chewing function; Locomotive syndrome; Tooth loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Oral Health*
  • Smoking
  • Tooth Loss* / diagnosis
  • Tooth Loss* / epidemiology