Objective Relationship between masticatory function and cognitive impairment had been suggested but still understudied. We investigated the association between chewing ability and cognitive impairment among the elderly living in a rural region. Methods A total of 295 elderly individuals aged ≥70 years in a rural city of Korea participated in a cross-sectional study. Trained nurses conducted interviews and assessed chewing ability using gum that changed color based on chewing performance. Cognitive impairment was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination for Dementia Screening (MMSE-DS) of Korean vesrsion. Socio-demographic characteristics, activities of daily living (ADL), Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA) were also assessed using questionnaires as potential confounders. Results The mean age of the participants was 81.4 (ranged 70–102) years and 67.8% of them were female. Participants with low chewing ability were significantly older, dependent, and had lower MNA and MMSE-DS scores. The elderly with middle or low chewing ability had significantly higher risk for having cognitive impairment than those with higher chewing ability. Conclusion Our findings suggest that poor chewing ability is associated with cognitive impairment or dementia in the elderly living in rural area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology