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Caregivers’ attitudes regarding oral health in a long-term care institution in Brazil

Authors

  • Roger Junges,

    1. School of Dentistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
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  • Fernando Freitas Portella,

    1. Laboratory of Dental Materials, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
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  • Fernando Neves Hugo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center of Community Oral Health Research, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    • Correspondence to:

      Fernando Neves Hugo, Faculdade de Odontologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Ramiro Barcelos 2492, Porto Alegre, Brasil, CEP 90035-003.

      Tel.: +55 51 3308 5204

      Fax: +55 51 3308 5204

      E-mail: fernando.hugo@ufrgs.br

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  • Dalva Maria Pereira Padilha,

    1. Department of Social and Preventive Dentistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
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  • Susana Maria Werner Samuel

    1. Laboratory of Dental Materials, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
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Abstract

Background and objective

The number of elderly living in long-term care (LTC) institutions has been increasing in many countries. The objective of this study was to evaluate the caregivers’ attitudes and considerations regarding oral health and oral health practices in an LTC institution in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Materials and methods

The population comprised the caregivers (n = 27) at an LTC in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Participants answered a questionnaire assessing the time of work at the LTC, number of elderly under their responsibility, their previous training to perform general and oral healthcare, availability of oral hygiene supplies and oral hygiene tasks they performed.

Results

A total of eighteen (75%) and 23 (95.8%) of the caregivers answered they performed teeth and denture brushing as part of their routine. When asked about performing hygiene of the mucosa with gauze, 21 (87.5%) participants stated that they did so. However, when asked if they would motivate the independent elderly to perform oral hygiene, only 10 (41.7%) of the caregivers responded positively.

Conclusion

Caregivers’ oral health practices are in accordance with good oral health methods and are not associated with difficulties in performing oral hygiene. However, the high number of elderly people in their care could possibly overwhelm caregivers’ practices. Future qualitative assessment of these issues is needed.

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