This week, the headlines have all been talking about a supposed link between dentures and frailty in joints and muscles. However, this is a misrepresentation of the science.
Dentures aren’t associated with an increased risk of frailty. People with fewer teeth and no dentures are more likely to be frail, but those with dentures aren’t. However, people with dentures are at risk for malnutrition.
Dentures Help Prevent Frailty
This study looked at about 1800 adults aged 50 years and over. They used handgrip strength as a standin for musculoskeletal frailty. This is a commonly used test because it is easy to administer and provides a reasonable snapshot of musculoskeletal health. They compared people in three categories of dentition: those with fewer than 20 teeth but no dentures, those with fewer than 20 teeth with dentures, and those with greater than 20 teeth. Those with greater than 20 teeth were considered the control group. The number of teeth was chosen because this is considered the minimum number to chew properly.
Nutrition data included a survey of the daily intake of 13 different nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They then looked at relationships between nutrition, frailty, and denture status.
They found that those with fewer than 20 teeth but no dentures were about 30% more likely to be frail. But people with fewer than 20 teeth who used dentures were not at elevated risk for frailty. With or without dentures, people with fewer than 20 teeth were more likely to have nutrient deficiencies.
What Explains the Difference?
So, why are people without dentures more frail than those with dentures? Researchers said that nutrition could only account for about 30% of the difference. So what’s the other 70%? It’s likely the dentures themselves.
Other studies have shown that people with few teeth who don’t use dentures are more prone to have difficulty walking. They’re also more likely to be homebound. Dentures, especially properly fitting dentures, help provide neuromuscular stability through the jaw. They improve your balance, increase your walking speed, and reduce your risk of falls.
Get Dentures If You Have Missing Teeth
If you are missing one or more teeth, you might think you don’t need dentures, but this study and others like it prove the value of getting dentures. Any dentures will help with some of the basic problems of frailty and being homebound.
But if you truly want to improve your health and extend your lifespan, it’s important to be able to maximize your bite force, and that means implant dentures.
If you are looking for dentures in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with a denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.