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Breaking down the link between diet and oral and mental health

Sustaining optimal oral health as people age may enhance nutritional status that, in turn, improves one’s subjective psychological well-being and may affect survival rates in healthy and unhealthy populations, according to a study published in PLoS One

Also, there may be a bidirectional association between oral health status and an individual’s social environment, the authors wrote.

“Oral health may not directly influence the subjective well-being, but indirectly, through nutritional status or environmental characteristics,” wrote the authors, led by Noriko Takeuchi, PhD, a senior assistant professor from Okayama University in Japan (PLoS One, November 28, 2023, Vol. 18:11, e0295078). 

Worldwide, people are living longer than ever. By 2015, the global population of people aged 60 and older is expected to double to 2.1 billion. Between 2020 and 2050, the population of those aged 80 and older is expected to triple to 426 million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As the world’s aging population grows, health and social systems need to be prepared to meet the needs associated with this demographic shift. 

To better understand the possible association between oral health and mental health in older adults, researchers investigated individual and environmental factors, oral health, and nutritional status related to the well-being of a total of 218 adults age 60 and older.

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