Eating is an essential part of overalls functions necessary to support life. In the process of eating, a nutritionally supportive diet maintains body processes like digestion and allows intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates that sustain body mass and healthy function including blood sugar regulation.
When eating is impaired, the outcome includes reduced intake of essential nutrients and impairment resulting in reduced body mass. This includes smaller than normal musculature, and reduced ability to combat encroachments from infections caused by bacteria and viruses.
Periodontal disease, which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss also carries with it pathogenic bacteria that stir up immune functions and predispose those afflicted to lowered immune resistance.
A recent article found few or no remaining teeth leads to reduction in body mass and increased incidence of diabetes. The opposite is also true, that better oral health and preserving natural or prosthodontically replaced teeth may contribute to the reduction of diabetes melllitus and to wasting muscle mass (sarcopenia). Reduced muscle mass will damage the ability of the skeletal muscles that perform chewing. This results in the selection of foods that are softer, more artificially processed, and nutritionally deficient.
“According to our data, improving mastication and denture use may reduce the risk of diabetes and sarcopenia,” senior author Shozo Yano, M.D., Ph.D., who is part of the Nutrition Support Team at Shimane University Hospital told Medical News Today.
The authors also found that periodontal inflammation can lead to lack of glucose tolerance and interferes with insulin sensitivity.
The authors advised seniors to eat more slowly to improve digestions, and to properly perform home oral hygiene including brushing teeth after meals. Improving oral health will lead to improved systemic health.
They also advised that prevention of tooth loss through dental treatment and replacement of missing teeth with the use of dentures can improve digestion and reduce the severity and incidence of systemic conditions that interfere with longevity like diabetes and sarcopenia.
1. Number of teeth and masticatory function are associated with sarcopenia and diabetes mellitus status among community-dwelling older adults.