The deterioration of oral function to a state of oral hypofunction (OHF) is reportedly associated with malnutrition and frailty. Thus, we Investigated the association of OHF with physical characteristics and function and test the effects of a programme including comprehensive oral and physical exercises and textured lunch gatherings (COPE-TeL programme) on oral and physical function in older adults with OHF. Eighty-six community-dwelling older adults were randomly assigned into control (n = 43) or intervention (n = 43) groups. The participants were further divided into OHF and normal oral function (NOF) sub-groups based on initial oral examinations. The intervention group participated in the 12-week COPE-TeL programme, while the control group performed the physical exercise regimen only. The differences in measured variables for physical and oral function between the OHF and NOF groups were statistically tested, and changes in the proportion of participants with OHF were examined. Physical function, such as hand grip strength and walking speed, was significantly lower in the OHF group at the initial assessment. The proportion of participants with OHF was 56% in the intervention group and 67% in the control group before the trial, which became significantly reduced after completing the COPE-TeL programme in the intervention group (26%, P =.002), but not in the controls (61%, P =.549). Older adults with OHF may have diminished physical function. The COPE-TeL programme of oral and physical exercises along with textured lunch gatherings may be effective for older adults with OHF.
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