Objective: To assess the dentition status and its association with the risk of malnutrition among a group of elderly patients in Kuala Lumpur.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among elderly patients who attended dental clinics in the Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Data on oral health conditions namely the number of teeth, number of posterior occluding pairs, and denture status were gathered from patients’ dental records. The nutritional status of respondents was determined using the Malay version of Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) followed by Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement. Statistical analysis included descriptive analysis, Chi-square test of association, and correlation coefficient test.
Results: Total tooth loss (edentulous) was seen in 31 (28.4%) patients from a total of 109 respondents. From those who still had natural teeth, 65.4% had less than 20 teeth. Based on the MNA score, only 1.8% were malnourished. The majority of them (78.9%) had normal nutritional status while 19.3% were at risk of malnutrition. Patients with lower education levels showed significantly lower mean MNA score and number of teeth. No significant association was noted between MNA scores and the number of teeth present. A slightly higher percentage of patients with less than 20 teeth (22.0%) were at risk of malnutrition and malnourished compared to those with more than 20 teeth (12.0%) but no significant association was observed (p>0.05).
Conclusion: There was no significant association observed between the number of teeth and the risk of malnutrition among patients undergoing dental treatment in UKM.