Oral health-related quality of life and loneliness among older adults

Patrick Rouxel, Anja Heilmann, Panayotes Demakakos, Jun Aida, Georgios Tsakos, Richard G. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Loneliness is a serious concern in aging populations. The key risk factors include poor health, depression, poor material circumstances, and low social participation and social support. Oral disease and tooth loss have a significant negative impact on the quality of life and well-being of older adults. However, there is a lack of studies relating oral health to loneliness. This study investigated the association between oral health-related quality of life (through the use of the oral impact on daily performances—OIDP—measure) and loneliness amongst older adults living in England. Data from respondents aged 50 and older from the third (2006–2007) and fifth (2010–2011) waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were analyzed. In the cross-sectional logistic regression model that adjusted for socio-demographic, socio-economic, health, and psychosocial factors, the odds of loneliness were 1.48 (1.16–1.88; p < 0.01) higher amongst those who reported at least one oral impact compared to those with no oral impact. Similarly, in the fully adjusted longitudinal model, respondents who reported an incident oral impact were 1.56 times (1.09–2.25; p < 0.05) more likely to become lonely. The association between oral health-related quality of life and loneliness was attenuated after adjusting for depressive symptoms, low social participation, and social support. Oral health-related quality of life was identified as an independent risk factor for loneliness amongst older adults. Maintaining good oral health in older age may be a protective factor against loneliness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 1


  • Depression
  • Edentate
  • Loneliness
  • Oral health
  • Quality of life
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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