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Tooth Loss A Risk for Weight Problems
January 9, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Older people who have lost teeth may be at higher risk for both underweight and overweight. That's the conclusion of a new study from Brazil.

The study involved 875 elderly people. Their average age was about 73. All of the people in the study lived on their own.

About 48 percent of people in the study had no natural teeth. Some used dentures and some did not.

Compared with others in the study, people with no teeth who did not wear dentures were nearly four times as likely to be underweight. People without teeth also were nearly three times as likely to be overweight or obese.

Other groups were more likely to be overweight:

  • Women
  • People who took medicines regularly
  • People with higher family incomes

Smokers in the study were more than twice as likely as others to be underweight.

The researchers said this is one of the first studies to link poor oral health with unfavorable weight (both underweight and overweight). They noted that people with few or no teeth probably make different food choices than people with most or all of their teeth.

A study published in June 2012 found that elderly Brazilians who had lost all of their teeth were more likely to have very high or very low percentages of body fat. The current study measured weight, rather than body fat.

A 2011 study of elderly Brazilians found that those with no teeth ate fewer fruits and vegetables.

The new study appears in the January issue of the journal Nutrition.

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