WEARING dentures has been linked to a higher risk of musculoskeletal frailty, research has found.

A study by scientists at King’s College London found that over 50s with fewer than 20 of their own teeth are more likely to experience frailty in their joints and muscles.

Although the reason was not proven, the researchers believe this is due to denture wearers avoiding certain foods and so miss out on vital nutrients.

They said that although dentures improve masticatory function, their bite force is much weaker than that of natural teeth.

The team found that those with more than 20 teeth were significantly less likely to be frail and were also found to have consumed the largest amount of nutrients over the study period.

The participants with fewer than 20 teeth and who did not use dentures – as well as those who did use dentures – were found to have consumed the least amount of nutrients, according to Recommended Dietary Intakes by the US food and drug administration.

Researchers said the findings highlight the need for older people to maintain the ability to chew effectively in order to get nutrients necessary to stave off musculoskeletal frailty.

The study was led by Dr Wael Sabbah of King’s College London Dental Institute, who said: “The use of denture could be a neglected intervention that could potentially have a preventative impact on musculoskeletal frailty.”