• obesity;
  • tooth loss;
  • epidemiology;
  • aged

Background and objective:  The loss of a functional dentition imposes eating difficulties and food avoidance, which may be detrimental in terms of nutritional status and health. The objective of this study was to investigate whether tooth loss and edentulism that were not rehabilitated with dental prostheses were associated with obesity among elderly in Southern Brazil.

Materials and methods:  A random sample of 872 independently living elderly was evaluated by means of a cross-sectional study. Socio-demographic, medical history and behaviour data were assessed using a standardised questionnaire. Two trained dentists assessed the number of teeth and use of prostheses in accordance with the WHO criteria. Height and weight were assessed and used to generate body mass index (BMI = weight (kilos)/height (cm)2) data. Participants were categorised into non-obese (BMI ≤ 30) or obese (BMI > 30). Multivariate logistic regression was used to model the relationship between number of teeth and use of dental prostheses with obesity adjusting for confounders.

Results:  Multivariate logistic regression revealed that edentulous persons wearing only upper dentures (OR = 2.34, 95% CI 1.18–4.27) and dentate participants with one to eight teeth wearing 0-to-1 prosthesis (OR = 2.96, 95% CI 1.68–5.19) were more likely to be obese.

Conclusion:  The results show that a poorer oral status, represented by having fewer teeth that were not replaced by dental prostheses, was associated with obesity in Southern Brazil older people, suggesting a close relationship between poor oral status and systemic conditions that may have important clinical implications.