A study by scientists at King’s College London has found that over 50s with fewer than 20 of their own teeth are more likely to experience frailty in their joints and muscles.
The reason for this frailty was not proven but the scientists believe it is connected to denture wearers avoiding certain foods and missing out on vital nutrients.
The team found that those with more than 20 teeth were significantly less likely to be frail and consumed the greatest amount of nutrients over the study period.
The participants with fewer than 20 teeth and who did not use dentures – as well as those who did use dentures – were found to have consumed the least amount of nutrients, when compared with the Recommended Dietary Intakes recommended by the US food and drug administration.
Researchers said their findings highlight the important need for older people to be able to maintain the ability to not just chew, but to chew effectively, in order to take on board the essential nutrients necessary to maintain muscle mass and stave off musculoskeletal frailty.
The study, which is published in Geriatrics & Gerontology International, was led by Dr Wael Sabbah of King’s College London Dental Institute. He said: ‘The findings of this analysis, along with that reported in earlier research, suggest that the use of denture could be a neglected intervention that could potentially have a preventative impact on musculoskeletal frailty.’