Evidence suggests poor oral health has strong implications for general systemic health; however, the association between oral health and nutritional status is less clear. This presentation shares findings from TheLanternProject.com.au’s Dental Study which investigated the association of oral health status and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) with nutritional status among 65 residents of aged care facilities (>65 years).
Almost two thirds of study participants were malnourished (55%, n=34 moderately malnourished; 7%, n=4 severely malnourished), most had inadequate oral cleanliness (89%, n=46) and most needed a dental referral (83%, n=43). Malnutrition was strongly associated with poor OHRQol (p=0.007). Recommendations for future practice include an increase in RACF training and education around oral health care and its connection with nutritional status and OHRQoL, increased access to dental professionals and the importance of concurrent referrals to dietitians when dental issues are identified.