Oral health status, dental treatment needs, and barriers to dental care of elderly care home residents in Lodz, Poland
Ewelina Gaszynska,1 Franciszek Szatko,1 Malgorzata Godala,2 Tomasz Gaszynski3
1Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland; 2Department of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland; 3Department of Emergency Medicine and Disaster Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
Objectives: To determine oral health status, dental treatment needs, and to identify barriers that prevent easy access to dental care by elderly care home residents in Lodz.
Background: Studies in many countries show that oral health status of elderly care home residents is poor and there is an urgent need to improve it.
Methods: The study included 259 care home residents, aged 65 years and older. The oral examination was performed. In face-to-face interviews, subjects were asked about frequency of cleaning teeth and/or dentures, whether they needed assistance, and whether the assistance was available; they were also asked about the perceived dental needs, and about the time since their last visit to a dentist and the purpose of the visit. If they had not visited the dentist in the past 12 months, they were asked about reasons for failing to visit the dentist.
Results: Forty-six percent of the subjects were edentulous. Only 5.8% of all participants had a sufficient number of functional natural teeth. Dental treatment was found to be necessary in 59.8% of the respondents. One in four subjects reported reduced ability of correctly cleaning teeth and dentures themselves, of whom only one-third were helped by others. An insufficient level of hygiene was found in every other subject. About 42% of residents had not visited a dentist for over 5 years, mainly due to organizational reasons.
Conclusion: Expanding the current scope of medical care for the elderly care home residents to include dental care would improve their currently poor oral health status.
Keywords: dental care, institutionalized elderly, treatment needs, oral behaviors
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