Your Location: Call:  Schedule Free Exam

The Link Between Malnutrition and Poor Oral Health in Older Adults 

By: Britely

As we age, our body undergoes several changes that affect our health, including our oral health. One of the most concerning issues is malnutrition among older adults, which has been linked to poor oral health. But how is poor oral health responsible for malnutrition? 

What is Malnutrition? 

Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when the body does not receive adequate nutrients from the diet. In older adults, several factors contribute to malnutrition, such as poor appetite, decreased nutrient absorption, and medication side effects.  

Oral health is often overlooked in the context of malnutrition. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and good oral health is essential to maintaining overall health, particularly in older adults. Impaired ability to chew or swallow food because of missing teeth or gum disease can negatively impact nutritional intake. As if that wasn’t enough, malnutrition can also exacerbate oral health issues. 

How Malnutrition Affects Oral Health 

Malnutrition affects oral health in several ways. Firstly, it weakens the immune system, making older adults more susceptible to oral infections. Secondly, it causes a decrease in saliva production, leading to dry mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids and washing away food particles. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. 

Older adults who suffer from malnutrition are also likely to have poor oral hygiene habits and may be unable to visit the dentist regularly due to financial or mobility issues, which can lead to untreated dental problems. 

Malnutrition is a significant concern among older adults and can have a considerable impact on oral health. It is crucial to acknowledge and address malnutrition and oral health concerns as you have them and not wait until it becomes a larger problem. Maintaining proper nutrition and oral hygiene habits and visiting the dentist regularly can help prevent oral health problems and improve overall health and well-being. 


It can be confusing navigating all your options. We know! That’s why our consultations are always complimentary. You shouldn’t be charged for doing your research. At Britely, we’ve created a welcoming environment for you to learn what option is best for you. So, if you find you still have questions, schedule your free consultation today and get all your questions answered. 

Skip to content