Masseter muscle tension, chewing ability, and selected parameters of physical fitness in elderly care home residents in Lodz, Poland
Ewelina Gaszynska,1 Malgorzata Godala,2 Franciszek Szatko,1 Tomasz Gaszynski3
1Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Medical University of Lodz, Poland; 2Department of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Medical University of Lodz, Poland; 3Department of Emergency Medicine and Disaster Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Poland
Background: Maintaining good physical fitness and oral function in old age is an important element of good quality of life. Disability-related impairment of oral function contributes to a deterioration of the diet of older people and to the reduction of their social activity.
Objectives: Investigate the association between masseter muscle tension, dental status, and physical fitness parameters.
Materials and methods: Two hundred fifty-nine elderly care home residents (97 men, 162 women; mean age, 75.3±8.9 years) were involved in this cross-sectional study. Their chewing ability was evaluated by masseter muscle tension palpation, differences of masseter muscle thickness, self-reported chewing ability, number of present and functional teeth, and number of posterior tooth pairs. Masseter muscle thickness was measured by ultrasonography. To assess physical fitness, hand grip strength and the timed up-and-go test were performed. Nutritional status was assessed using body mass index and body cell mass index (BCMI), calculated on the basis of electrical bioimpedance measurements. Medical records were used to collect information on systemic diseases and the number of prescribed medications. Subjects were also evaluated for their ability to perform ten activities of daily living.
Results: Ninety-seven percent of the subjects suffered from systemic diseases. The three most prevalent illnesses were cardiac/circulatory 64.5%, musculoskeletal 37.3%, and endocrine/metabolic/nutritional 29.3%. Of the participants, 1.5% were underweight and more than one third (34.4%) were overweight. Malnutrition (BCMI below normal) was found in almost half (45.2%) of the subjects. Only 5.8% had a sufficient number of functional natural teeth. Statistically significant correlations were found between palpation of masseter muscle tension and perceived chewing ability, number of present teeth, number of functional teeth, number of posterior tooth pairs, timed up-and-go, hand grip strength, body mass index, BCMI, and activities of daily living. In a multivariate model, after adjusting for age, sex, and education, subjects with higher BCMI, higher hand grip strength, and more present teeth had a significantly higher chance of strong masseter muscle tension.
Conclusion: There is a relationship between chewing ability and physical fitness in elderly people. Efficiency of masseter muscles is related to physical fitness in the elderly. Masseter muscle tension examined by palpation can be used in public dentistry as one of the indicators of quality of life.
Keywords: physical fitness, chewing ability, masseter muscle tension
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