OBJECTIVES Malnutrition is a serious health concern for frail elderly people. Poor oral function leading to insufficient food intake can contribute to the development of malnutrition. In the present study, we explored the longitudinal association of malnutrition with oral function, including oral health status and swallowing function, in elderly people receiving home nursing care. DESIGN Prospective observational cohort study with 1-year follow-up. SETTING Two mid-sized cities in Fukuoka, Japan from November 2010 to March 2012. PARTICIPANTS One hundred and ninety-seven individuals, aged ≥ 60 years, living at home and receiving home-care services because of physical disabilities, without malnutrition. MEASUREMENTS Oral health status, swallowing function, taking modified-texture diets such as minced or pureed foods, nutritional status, cognitive function, and activities of daily living were assessed at baseline. The associations between malnutrition at 1-year follow-up and these related factors were analyzed using a logistic regression model. RESULTS Swallowing disorders [risk ratio (RR): 5.21, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.65-16.43] were associated with malnutrition. On the other hand, oral health status did not have a direct association with malnutrition. CONCLUSION Swallowing disorders may be associated with the incidence of malnutrition in elderly people receiving home-care. The findings indicate that maintaining swallowing function may contribute to the prevention of malnutrition in frail elderly people.