|Title||Oral Conditions, Oral Health Related Quality of Life and Cognitive Function: Preliminary Results from the Health and Retirement Study|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Joshi, P, Kaufman, LB, Cabral, H|
|Journal||Advances in Geriatric Medicine and Research|
|Keywords||Cognition, Dementia, Oral Health, oral health related quality of life|
Background: Growing evidence suggests that cognitive functioning is influenced by oral health status. This study examines the association between the status or condition of the mouth as measured by self-report (OH), oral health related quality of life (OHRQoL) and dental care utilization on cognitive function.
Design: Population‐based cross‐sectional study.
Setting: United States Health and Retirement Study (2018).
Participants: Community‐dwelling adults above 50 years of age (N = 1268; Mean age (SD) 67.14 ± 10.54 years).
Measurements: Self-reported condition of mouth and teeth, number of teeth and denture use were used to determine the OH. OHRQoL was assessed as a composite score using self-reported pain or distress due to gums or teeth, difficulty to relax, avoiding eating certain foods, or socializing due to oral health issues. Validated cognitive score cut-offs were used: (i) (≥12) representing normal cognition (ii) (6–11) “cognitive impairment, not demented” (CIND), and (iii) (<6) dementia.
Results: We found that participants with worse OHRQoL had 0.15 units lower global cognitive scores (β = −0.15, SE = 0.03, p = < 0.0001). Compared to those with dementia, participants in normal and CIND categories had greater odds of better OH (ORNormal = 1.76, (95%CI: 1.09–2.84); ORCIND = 2.86, (95%CI: 1.60–5.09)). Furthermore, participants in the CIND category had greater odds of using dentures compared to participants with dementia (ORCIND = 2.71, (95%CI: 1.49–4.93)). We did not find any statistically significant association between tooth loss or dental utilization and dementia.
Conclusions: This study provides valuable preliminary insights into the potential association between OH and OHRQoL and cognitive function. If further validated, this method may allow dental and cognitive triage for follow-up assessments in community dwelling adults who may have limited access to care.