Overall diet quality indices, such as the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), are preferred for epidemiological studies, yet studies in dentistry have focused on isolated dietary components. This study investigated the influence of socio-demographic and masticatory variables (masticatory performance, bite force, number of posterior functional tooth units, TMJ disorder, and dentition status) on overall diet quality in a community-based sample (n = 731). Cross-sectional data were derived from clinical examinations, bite force recordings, masticatory performance measurements, and two 24-hour dietary recalls. Females, European-Americans, and older subjects had better HEI scores than males, Mexican-Americans, and younger subjects, respectively. Income, education, and the masticatory variables were not related to diet quality. Analyses according to dentition status (good dentition, compromised dentition, partial denture, and complete dentures) showed no intergroup differences for HEI except for the age groups. The results suggest that the chewing-related factors evaluated in this sample are not predictors of overall diet quality across the socio-demographic groups.
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