Disputas: Kirsten Solemdal

Cand.odont. Kirsten Solemdal ved IKO vil forsvare sin avhandling for graden ph.d.: Oral health, taste and nutrition in hospitalized older people

Tid og sted for prøveforelesning

28. februar 14.15, Auditorium I., Geitmyrsveien 69


  • Ph.d., universitetslektor Inger Wårdh, Karolinska institutet   (førsteopponent)
  • Ph.d., universitetslektor Ph.d., professor Tommy Cederholm, Uppsala Science Park, Uppsala universitet (andreopponent)
  • Post doktor Morten Enersen, komiteens leder



  • Førsteamanuensis Morten Mowe, Det medisinske fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo
  • Professor II Leiv Sandvik, Det odontologiske fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo
  • Professor Tiril Willumsen, Det odontologiske fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo


Oral health, taste and nutrition in hospitalized older people 

In the present thesis we have examined associations between various oral health variables, taste ability, nutritional status, diseases and death in acutely hospitalized older people at least 70 years old. 

We showed that taste ability was impaired in hospitalized elderly compared with age-matched healthy controls.  Interestingly, sour and bitter taste qualities were particularly affected. 

Furthermore taste ability was reduced in hospitalized elderly with decayed teeth, high growth of caries promoting bacteria (Streptococcus Mutans and Lactobacilli), un-acceptable oral hygiene and dry mouth.

The various taste qualities were altered differently in that sweet and salty taste were particularly impaired in patients with dry mouth, whereas sour taste perception was more impaired in patients with plaque accumulation and high growth of lactobacilli.

An important finding in this study was that hospitalized elderly with compromised oral health had low body cell mass (indicating undernutrition), measured with bioimpedance spectroscopy.  No such associations were found between dentition status and other nutritional indicators.

For reasons not known, impaired taste ability was highly associated with a significant increase in mortality.  To what extent this finding reflects a central or peripheral blunting of taste recognition, remains to be further investigated.

The overall conclusion of this thesis is that compromised oral health and impaired taste in hospitalized older people are associated with undernutrition, diseases, and death.  Our study highlights the importance of good oral health and underlines the value of proper taste function in order to prevent nutritional deficiencies, diseases and death.

Publisert 14. feb. 2013 10:57 - Sist endret 11. mai 2017 12:17