New research from Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Dentistry has shown that dentures may affect a person’s overall nutrition, according to Science Daily.

Researchers leveraged electronic dental and health records to understand how oral health treatments affect overall health over time.

This is the first study to report the results of using lab values of nutritional biomarkers and linking them with dental records.

The study’s senior author ThankamThyvalikakath said, “Dentures are a significant change for a person. They do not provide the same chewing efficiency, which may alter eating habits.”

“Dentists need to be aware of this and provide advice or a referral for nutrition counseling,” she added. “These patients need support during the transition and possible continued monitoring.”

For the study, the researchers matched the dental records of over 10,000 patients in Indiana with medical laboratory data, especially markers for malnutrition.

The lab tests included complete blood count, metabolic profile, and lipid profile, thyroid panel tests, among others. The team compared the lab results from two years before patients received dentures to the two years after.

The authors found that people using dentures had a significant decline in certain nutrition markers over the study period. Those who did not wear dentures did not experience this decline.

The nutrition marker levels were still within the normal range. However, the researchers said the levels could continue to fall as time passes.

The authors have urged dentists to be aware of this possibility.

The team will now look at other factors that may influence nutrition, such as insurance status and dental clinic characteristics.

The story appeared in Science Daily.