Mal J Nutr 21(2): 207 - 217, 2015

Oral Hygiene Care and Nutritional Status among Institutionalised Elderly in Kedah and Kelantan, Malaysia
Enny E, Abdul M, Ruhaya H & Md. Zulkarnain S

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Unsatisfactory oral hygiene care can lead to poor nutritional status among the elderly. This study assessed the oral hygiene and nutritional status of the elderly living in institutional homes.
Method: A cross-sectional study of 174 respondents from public institutional homes in the Malaysian states of Kedah and Kelantan was conducted. A structured interview consisting of the Mini Nutritional Assessment Short Form (MNA-SF) and Dietary History Questionnaire (DHQ) was conducted to obtain information on the nutritional status and the dietary intake of the participants. Anthropometric measurements including body weight, height and calf circumference were taken. Oral hygiene assessments were conducted using the Sillnes & Loe index (1964) and the Ausburger & Elahi criteria (1982). Multivariate linear analysis was performed to explore the association and predictive values of explanatory variables.
Results:The mean age of the respondents was 71.4 ± 7.6 years. The MNA-SF scores showed that 25.9% suffered from malnutrition whilst 39.1% were at risk of malnutrition. Poor oral hygiene was reported with a mean score of 2.72 ± 0.34 for dental plaque, and 2.82 ± 0.57 for denture plaque. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis showed that energy intake was the most significant predictor contributing to the nutritional status of the elderly, after controlling for monthly income, self-health assessment and denture plaque score.
Conclusion: Poor oral hygiene was evident amongst elderly residents, but no significant association with nutritional status was reported. Further studies on the effects of oral infection and oral hygiene care on the elderly's ability to taste and smell, as well as their nutritional status is recommended.

Keywords: Elderly, nutritional status, oral hygiene

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