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Oral acuity, particle size sensitivity, and food texture preferences in an older adult population
journal contributionposted on 2023-11-21, 04:33 authored by O Chaffee, M Laura Montero, Russell KeastRussell Keast, CF Ross
Changes in sensory sensitivity occur as we age but changes in food texture sensitivity in the older adult population remain poorly understood. The objective of this study was to describe the relationship between oral tactile acuity, mouth behaviour, and particle size sensitivity and their potential influence on preferred food textures in older adults. Older adults (n = 79; mean age = 69.7 yrs) participated in an evaluation of oral health and texture perception through survey measurements of mouth behaviour, and preferred food textures. Oral tactile acuity was assessed using the Grating Orientation Task (GOT) with three grating sizes (0.5, 0.75, and 1.5 mm). Food particle sensitivity was evaluated through a difference-from-control (DFC) sensory assessment of ground quinoa mixed into yogurt, utilizing three particle size ranges (<75, 150–250, and 500–600 μm). The results revealed that the sample containing 500–600 mm particle sizes yielded a higher difference (DFC) score compared to the samples with < 75 μm and 150–250 μm particles (p < 0.05). However, no significant relationship (p > 0.05) was found between the R-indices obtained from the GOT assessments and DFC scores, indicating no association between oral tactile acuity and particle size sensitivity. Liking of creamy, leafy, slippery, sticky, with skins, and combination food textures was significantly positively associated with the 0.5 mm GOT tool R-index values, suggesting higher oral acuity influences liking of specific food textures. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were present in liking of food textures among different mouth behaviour groups. These results suggest that texture perception and sensitivity influence texture acceptance in older adults.