• stimulated salivary flow rate;
  • unstimulated salivary flow rate;
  • malnutrition;
  • elderly people

doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2012.00679.x

Salivary flow rate and risk of malnutrition – a study among dentate, community-dwelling older people

Objective:  To analyse the relation between unstimulated and stimulated salivary secretion and the risk of malnutrition among home-dwelling elderly people.

Background:  Saliva has an important role in eating. Despite this, there are only a few studies on the role of salivary secretion in the development of malnutrition among elderly people.

Materials and methods:  The study population consisted of 157 subjects aged 75 or older. This was a part of GeMS study carried out in Kuopio, in eastern Finland. The data used in this study were collected by means of interviews and geriatric and oral clinical examinations. The risk of malnutrition was measured using the Mini Nutritional Assessment Short-Form. Logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and their 95% Confidence Intervals (CI).

Results:  Subjects with a low unstimulated salivary flow rate (<0.1 ml/min) or stimulated salivary flow rate (<1.0 ml/min) had no statistically significant increase in risk of malnutrition, OR: 1.3, CI: 0.5–3.9, OR: 1.5, CI: 0.5–4.2, respectively, when compared with those with a normal unstimulated and stimulated salivary flow rate.

Conclusion:  Our results do not support the concept that low salivary secretion is an important risk factor for malnutrition among community-dwelling elders.