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Open AccessArticle

Is a History of Falling Related to Oral Function? A Cross-Sectional Survey of Elderly Subjects in Rural Japan

1
Department of Dentistry and Oral Surgery, Hyogo College of Medicine, 1-1 Mukogawa-cho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan
2
Division of Comprehensive Prosthodontics, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata University, Niigata 951-8514, Japan
3
Department of Physical Therapy, School of Rehabilitation, Hyogo University of Health Sciences, 1-3-6 Minatojima, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-8530, Japan
4
Hyogo Dental Association, 5-7-18 Yamamoto-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0003, Japan
5
Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, 1-1 Mukogawa-cho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3843; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203843
Received: 19 September 2019 / Revised: 3 October 2019 / Accepted: 6 October 2019 / Published: 11 October 2019
Background: Deteriorated physical function makes older adults prone to fall, and it is therefore known to prompt elders to require long-term care. In this regard, oral function can be related to the loss of motor function. This cross-sectional study assessed the oral factors that increase the risk of falling among older adults. Methods: We surveyed 672 self-reliant elderly individuals aged ≥65 years who were dwelling in a rural area. We assessed each subject’s risk of falling and any related anxiety. Oral-related conditions (number of teeth, occlusal support, masticatory performance, occlusal force, and tongue pressure) and physical motor functions (gait speed, knee extension force, and one-legged standing) were also assessed. Statistical analyses were performed using Mann-Whitney’s U-test, the χ2 test, and a logistic regression model. Results: In all subjects, 23% had a history of falling, while 40% had anxiety over falling. Both factors were significantly higher among female subjects, who also had slower gait speeds, and greater lateral differences in occlusion. The subjects with histories of falling were older, had impaired physical motor function, and exhibited a decrease in occlusal force and left/right occlusal imbalances. We recognized similar trends for anxiety about falling. Conclusions: These results revealed that the risk of falling might be lessened by maintaining healthy teeth occlusion and promoting healthy oral function. View Full-Text
Keywords: cross-sectional survey; elderly; falling; anxiety for falling; occlusal force; oral function; physical motor function cross-sectional survey; elderly; falling; anxiety for falling; occlusal force; oral function; physical motor function
MDPI and ACS Style

Hasegawa, Y.; Horii, N.; Sakuramoto-Sadakane, A.; Nagai, K.; Ono, T.; Sawada, T.; Shinmura, K.; Kishimoto, H. Is a History of Falling Related to Oral Function? A Cross-Sectional Survey of Elderly Subjects in Rural Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3843.

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