As a result, he or she would make alterations, which Dutour (2007) wrote, "changing diet leads to inadequate food intake and may induce a specific nutrient deficiency. Chewing less may also result in a lower nutrient bioavailability and an impaired nutritional status."

Medically, the deficiency in masticatory abilities impacts elderly people by increasing the risk of mortality. Nakanishi and his team led a study who noted, those who were seventy-five years and older had a significant risk linking the aforementioned conditions. In the Gilmore study, he noted the incidence of inflammation with elder animals found in the connective tissue at the sulcus due to irritation from the food debris. The inflammation in the gingiva led to the formation of pockets on the periodontium in old animals, and the irritation spread to the root surface. As well, "the cementum adjacent to the epithelium and for a considerable distance apical to it was thinned and often absent. The tooth surface was eroded and in some instances, the erosion extended into the dentin." As one ages, he or she may experience more exposure and risk to periodontal diseases, for example gum disease. The American Academy of Periodontology posted 50% of those who were not institutionalized and over the age of fifty-five years old have periodontitis. As well, one out of four people ages sixty-five and older do not have teeth. The majority of elders are affected by receding gum tissue, and most of tooth loss is due to periodontal disease and tooth decay. In a study led by Grossi to assess the risk of periodontal disease, age was the most significant fact that had the most influence with "odds ratios for subjects 35 to 44 years old ranging from 1.72 to 9.01 for subjects 65 to 74 years old."

Nobody said the aging process was easy but some do say it's a privilege to progress onward in life. A significant factor that influences the quality of life for an individual is the impact aging does to the periodontium either physically, functionally, nutritionally or medically. Physically, the parts of the periodontium begin to thin, lose flexibility, reduction in bone density, and increase in width and thickness. Functionally, because of all the physical changes, it slows down the mastication activity in elder people while requiring them to chew more to break down food particles. However, people with denture are unable to chew as well and may risk being malnourished, which is the nutritional impact of aging and one's ability to bite. Medically, old people are more prone to periodontal disease, like gingivitis and gum disease, which would then impact on their ability to masticate, and may experience certain diseases like gastrointestinal disorders when food isn't properly digested. Overall, the parts of the periodontium impact an individual's welfare in various aspects of his or her life, from diminishment to motor ability.


Gilmore, N., & Glickman, I. (1959). Some Age Changes in the Periodontium of the Albino Mouse . Journal of Dental Research, 38, 1195-1206.

Grossi, S., Zambon, J., Ho, A., Koch, G., Dunford, R., Machtei, E., et al. (1994). Assessment of Risk for Periodontal Disease. I. Risk Indicators for Attachment Loss. Journal of Periodontology, 65, 260-267.

Grossi, S., Genco, R., Machtei, E., Ho, A., Koch, G., Dunford, R., et al. (1995). Assessment of Risk for Periodontal Disease. II. Risk Indicators for Alveolar Bone Loss*. Journal of Periodontology, 66(1), 23-29.

Mishellany-Dutour, A., Renaud, J., Peyron, M., Rimek, F., & Woda, A. (2008). Is the goal of mastication reached in young dentates, aged dentates and aged denture wearers? . British Journal of Nutrition, 99, 121-128.

Nakanishi, N., Fukuda, H., Takatorige, T., & Tatara, K. (2005). Relationship between self-assessed masticatory disability and 9-year mortality in a cohort of community-residing elderly people.. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(1), 54-58.

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Sims, M., Leppard, P., Sampson, W., & Dreyer, C. (1996). Microvascular Luminal Volume Changes in Aged Mouse Periodontal Ligament . Journal…