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Malnutrition as a Strong Predictor of the Onset of Sarcopenia
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Poor Oral Health as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Sarcopenia

Geriatric Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 20122 Milan, Italy
Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy
Department of Head and Neck, Oral Surgery and Implantology Unit, Institute of Clinical Dentistry, Catholic University of Sacred Hearth, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Gemelli, 00168 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2898;
Received: 7 November 2019 / Revised: 22 November 2019 / Accepted: 27 November 2019 / Published: 29 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Musculoskeletal Health)
Aging is accompanied by profound changes in many physiological functions, leading to a decreased ability to cope with stressors. Many changes are subtle, but can negatively affect nutrient intake, leading to overt malnutrition. Poor oral health may affect food selection and nutrient intake, leading to malnutrition and, consequently, to frailty and sarcopenia. On the other hand, it has been highlighted that sarcopenia is a whole-body process also affecting muscles dedicated to chewing and swallowing. Hence, muscle decline of these muscle groups may also have a negative impact on nutrient intake, increasing the risk for malnutrition. The interplay between oral diseases and malnutrition with frailty and sarcopenia may be explained through biological and environmental factors that are linked to the common burden of inflammation and oxidative stress. The presence of oral problems, alone or in combination with sarcopenia, may thus represent the biological substratum of the disabling cascade experienced by many frail individuals. A multimodal and multidisciplinary approach, including personalized dietary counselling and oral health care, may thus be helpful to better manage the complexity of older people. Furthermore, preventive strategies applied throughout the lifetime could help to preserve both oral and muscle function later in life. Here, we provide an overview on the relevance of poor oral health as a determinant of malnutrition and sarcopenia. View Full-Text
Keywords: sarcopenia; nutrition; oral health; older people; malnutrition; swallowing; life course approach sarcopenia; nutrition; oral health; older people; malnutrition; swallowing; life course approach
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Azzolino, D.; Passarelli, P.C.; De Angelis, P.; Piccirillo, G.B.; D’Addona, A.; Cesari, M. Poor Oral Health as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Sarcopenia. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2898.

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