Objectives: Oral tactile perception is important for better mastication, appetite, and enjoyment of food. However, previous investigations have not utilized comprehensible variables thought to have negative effect on oral perception, including aging, denture wearing, and cognitive function. The aim of this study was to elucidate the impact of cognitive function on oral perception in independently living older individuals. Materials and methods: The study sample was comprised of 987 participants (466 males, 521 females; age 69–71 years). Oral examinations, assessments of cognitive function in preclinical level by Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)-J, and determination of oral stereognostic ability as an indicator of oral perception were performed. Related variables were selected by univariate analyses; then, multivariate logistic regression model analysis was conducted. Results: Univariate analyses revealed that number of teeth, removable dentures usage, and cognitive function respectively had a significant relationship with stereognostic score. Next, the subjects were classified into good and poor perception groups (lowest 17.4%) according to oral stereognostic ability. Logistic regression analysis revealed that lower cognitive function was significantly associated with poor oral perception (OR = 0.934, p = 0.017) after controlling for other variables. Conclusions: Cognitive decline even in preclinical stage was associated with reduced oral perception after controlling for gender, tooth number and denture use in independent living older people. Clinical relevance: This study suggested that preclinical level of change in cognitive function affected oral perception. Dental practitioners and caregivers may need to pay attention to reduced oral perception among older people even if they do not have trouble in daily life.
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