Odour perception in relation to age, general health, anthropometry and dental state

Martijn Griep, Tony Mets, Kristiaan Collys, Peter Vogelaere, M. Laska, Desire Massart

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Considering the possible role of age-related phenomena such as general health, dental health and nutrition in odour perception, their joint effect on variability in odour perception was evaluated in the present study. A total of 171 apparently healthy adults with a mean age of 66.0 years (S.D. 7.3), ranging between 53 and 86 years, living in the community took part in this study. The SENIEUR protocol was used to assess the general health status and anthropometric measures were obtained to assess the nutritional status of the persons. The sensory detection threshold for isoamyl acetate was determined to measure odour perception. Oral examinations were used to assess dental status. Those in poor general health had lower mean values for odour perception than those in good or reasonably general health. Complete denture wearers and those with partial dentures had significantly lower values for odour perception than those with only natural teeth. Odour perception correlated significantly with measures of body fat and muscle mass, indicating that a poor sense of smell is associated with low body fat and muscle area. Our results indicate that general health and dental state are important age-associated factors in odour perception. Since odour perception is an important determinant of food consumption, early detection of diminished odour perception might be an indication of physical deterioration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
JournalArch Gerontol Geriatr
Issue numberNovember-December
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Arch. Gerontology and Geriatrics, 25, 263-275


  • health
  • nutrition
  • odour
  • dentition
  • age
  • ageing


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