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Xerostomia and hyposalivation in orthogeriatric patients with fall history and impact on oral health-related quality of life

Authors Barbe AG, Schmidt P, Bussmann M, Kunter H, Noack MJ, Röhrig G

Received 26 June 2018

Accepted for publication 5 September 2018

Published 12 October 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 1971—1979


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Video abstract presented by Dr Anna Greta Barbe

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Anna Greta Barbe,1 Pia Schmidt,1 Michael Bussmann,2 Henning Kunter,2 Michael Johannes Noack,1 Gabriele Röhrig3

1Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology, Center of Dental Medicine, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany; 2Department of Orthogeriatrics, Evangelisches Krankenhaus Köln Kalk, Cologne, Germany; 3Geriatric Diagnostic Center, MVZ Medicum Köln Ost, Cologne, Germany

Purpose: Falls are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in older people, and identification of risk indicators and risk factors to prevent falling is essential. Dry mouth (xerostomia and hyposalivation) can exacerbate conditions known to be fall risk indicators, such as nutritional status and sarcopenia. But there is little evidence regarding whether it is an independent risk factor for falling. We explored xerostomia prevalence and intensity and objective salivation rates in hospitalized geriatric patients to determine whether they were associated with an increased risk of falling.
Patients and methods: Hospitalized geriatric patients with and without a fall history were compared. We investigated several oral health issues including xerostomia, stimulated and unstimulated salivation rates, total number of teeth and prosthetics, periodontal status, and oral health-related quality of life.
Results: Forty patients were included, 28 in the fall history group and 12 in the control group. All patients had oral health issues that impacted on their oral health-related quality of life. However, there were no significant differences between the groups, including xerostomia and hyposalivation, apart from increased dysphagia and less flavor in food in patients with a fall history.
Conclusion: Dry mouth does not appear to be an independent risk factor for falling in this population, but oral health was impaired. Thus, it is important that dentists and geriatricians are aware of and investigate these conditions in their patients and that appropriate action is taken to reduce the consequences of impaired oral health, including a potential reduction in falls.

Keywords: dry mouth, falls, gerodontology, Oral Health Impact Profile, geriatric syndrome

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