Relationship between Stimulated Salivary Factors, Dental Caries Status and Nutritional Condition among Institutionalized Elderly People
Background: Nutrition is one of the important components of health, functional independence and quality of life in elderly population. In this age group, malnutrition is common and the risk of malnutrition increases with the advancing age. Nutritional status acts as a modifying factor in the development of many oral diseases. Aim: To assess the relationship of salivary factors, dental caries and nutritional status among institutionalized elderly people.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in three old age homes in Nellore city. All the institutionalized elderly aged 50 years and above were included for the study. Pearson co-relation was done to know the relationship of malnutrition, salivary parameters and dental caries experience.
Results: A total of 81 subjects with a mean age of 70.12 ± 7.32 yrs participated in the study. 43% of subjects were at risk of malnourishment and 14% were malnourished. Analysis of salivary parameters in relation to nutritional status of subjects revealed that salivary flow rate decreased among malnourished subjects (0.50 ± 0.100) when compared to well-nourished subjects (0.93 ± 0.260). DMFT scores increased in subjects who were malnourished (12.45 ± 5.574) compared to well-nourished subjects (6.34 ± 5.765). Co-relation of nutritional status with salivary parameters and caries experience revealed a positive co-relation between nutritional status and salivary flow rate, where as a negative co-relation was observed between caries experience.
Conclusion: Prevalence of malnourishment was 14% among the institutionalized elderly. All of them had lower salivary flow rate, buffering capacity and pH with increased caries experience.