There is growing interest in the relationship between body mass index and oral health. Previous study showed that being underweight was significantly associated with having lower masticatory performance. This study was performed to assess the relationship between an underweight body mass index lower than 18.5 and the number of natural teeth using nationally representative data. Initially, a total of 25,534 individuals were candidates in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The analysis in this study was confined to 17,870 subjects who were 19 years or older and without missing values for outcome variables. Body mass index and number of natural teeth were evaluated. Multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate the risk of tooth loss in relation to body mass index. Adjusted odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals for chewing discomfort in individuals who were underweight, normal, overweight, obese, and extremely obese were 1.712(1.156-2.535), 1.111(0.939-1.315), 1(reference), 0.949(0.798-1.128), and 1.172(0.807-1.700), respectively, after adjustment. The association between underweight and tooth loss was proven by multiple logistic regression analyses after adjusting for confounding factors. Underweight may be considered a potential risk indicator for tooth loss in Korean adults.
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