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Caries Prevalence in Older Persons with and without Dementia

Authors

  • Birita Ellefsen DDS, PhD,

    1. From the *Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Centre, School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, College of Dentistry, New York University, New YorkDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, and §Memory Disorder Research Group, Neurological Department, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Poul Holm-Pedersen DDS, DrOdont,

    1. From the *Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Centre, School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, College of Dentistry, New York University, New YorkDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, and §Memory Disorder Research Group, Neurological Department, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Douglas E. Morse DDS, PhD,

    1. From the *Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Centre, School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, College of Dentistry, New York University, New YorkDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, and §Memory Disorder Research Group, Neurological Department, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Marianne Schroll MD, DrMed,

    1. From the *Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Centre, School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, College of Dentistry, New York University, New YorkDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, and §Memory Disorder Research Group, Neurological Department, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Birgitte Bo Andersen MD, DrMed,

    1. From the *Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Centre, School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, College of Dentistry, New York University, New YorkDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, and §Memory Disorder Research Group, Neurological Department, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Gunhild Waldemar MD, DrMed

    1. From the *Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Centre, School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, College of Dentistry, New York University, New YorkDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, and §Memory Disorder Research Group, Neurological Department, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Address correspondence to Birita Ellefsen, DDS, PhD, Copenhagen Gerontological Oral Health Research Center, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 20, Noerre Allé, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark. E-mail: bel@odont.ku.dk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence of coronal and root caries in a memory clinic–based population of elderly patients with and without a diagnosis of dementia and to examine the influence of age, sex, social relations, social position, and functional ability.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional.

SETTING: Patients referred with possible cognitive dysfunction were recruited from two university hospital dementia clinics.

PARTICIPANTS: In total, 106 dentate persons participated in the study. Mean age was 82, 69 were women, and 87 had a diagnosis of dementia.

MEASUREMENTS: Data from interviews and a clinical examination were collected. The diagnosis of dementia was made at the dementia clinics according to the criteria of International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision. Active coronal and root caries was assessed using previously defined diagnostic criteria from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

RESULTS: The mean number of coronal and root surfaces with caries was statistically significantly higher in subjects with a diagnosis of dementia (7.0 vs 2.7, P<.05). Subjects with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease had a significantly higher mean number of root surfaces with caries (4.9, P<.05) than subjects with other dementia diagnoses (2.3) and those without dementia (1.7). People with Alzheimer's disease also had significantly more mean total caries than subjects without dementia (7.8 vs 2.7, P<.05). Participants with a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score less than 24 had significantly more caries than participants with a MMSE-score of 24 or higher (7.6 vs 4.3, P<.05).

CONCLUSION: Patients with newly diagnosed dementia already had a high level of active dental caries when they were referred to the memory clinic. The high caries prevalence was related to dementia type and severity.

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