Public Health in Practice, Volume 1, November 2020,
Objectives: This study examines the association between oral health and food avoidance among older adults in the United States. Study design: A population-based sample of 1,278 adults aged 51+ from the Health and Retirement Study was used. A logistic regression model was performed to evaluate various oral health conditions and food avoidance behavior among older adults. Results were quantified as odds ratios (OR). Results: This study found a significant association between oral health and food avoidance in older adults. Individuals with teeth loss, poor self-rated oral health, and teeth or gum sensitivity experienced more food avoidance. Conclusions: Geriatric health care professionals assessing older adults’ well-being can be informed by this study outcome to consider oral health as a potential risk factor for food avoidance. This study can inform policymakers to develop oral health promotion programs and goals for older adults, and also consider nutritional support for older adults with negative oral health conditions.