Investigating the impact of a community-based geriatric dentistry rotation on oral health literacy and oral hygiene of older adults

Authors


Abstract

Objective

This study investigated the impact of a community-based geriatric dentistry rotation on older adults' oral health literacy and oral hygiene.

Materials and methods

A pre–post study design was used to assess the impact of the educational intervention. The study sample consisted of 67 older adults, who resided in independent or assisted living apartments (age: M = 84, SD = 7.3). Over the course of the programme, participants received patient education pertaining to oral health and oral hygiene. Oral health literacy was assessed using the Rapid Estimation of Adult Literacy in Dentistry (REALD–30) test at baseline and on the final visit. Oral hygiene was measured on four visits using the O'Leary, Drake and Naylor Plaque Control Record (PI).

Results

REALD-30 scores significantly increased, and PI scores significantly decreased for all subjects following participation in the programme (< 0.001, and < 0.01, respectively). Hierarchical multiple regression demonstrated that neither study subjects' individual characteristics nor their health literacy significantly predicted the change in oral hygiene.

Conclusion

This study demonstrated that a community-based geriatric dentistry rotation involving multiple interactions with dental students can in the short term significantly and positively impact older adults' oral health literacy and oral hygiene status.

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