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Keywords:

  • caries prevalence;
  • denture treatment needs;
  • geriatrics;
  • institutionalized elderly;
  • oral epidemiology;
  • plaque index;
  • temporomandibular joint

Abstract

Oral health conditions, including dental conditions, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) conditions, denture status, and oral hygiene status, were assessed on 1908 institutionalized elderly people 65 yr of age and older at 29 of the 30 existing institutions in the city of Kitakyushu, Japan. The percentage of edentulous people was 27% in the65–74-yr-old group, and increased with age to 56%, in the 85 yr and older group. In dentate persons, the mean number of remaining teeth and DF teeth were 13.4 and 8.6, 9.5 and 6.8, and 8.4 and 6.5 in the groups aged65–74 yr old.75–84 yr old and 85 yr and older, respectively 81% of all the persons examined had no unusual symptoms in their TMJ. A clicking sound was the most frequent symptom (17%). Hygiene of both their teeth and dentures was very poor. Of all the subjects 36% needed new full and/or partial denture(s) and 41%, needed only repair. When the institutionalized elderly people were compared according to their general health condition, no clear differences were observed in percentage edentu-lousness, mean number of remaining teeth and DF teeth, and TMJ conditions. However, a higher level of both untreated teeth and denture treatment needs, and poorer oral hygiene, was found in elderly people having poor general health than was observed in those with better health. These findings indicate that dental care systems for institutionalized elderly people, especially disabled elderly people, should be planned, and that the importance of oral health programs among younger generations should be stressed, because (a) dental care for the elderly becomes more difficult with increasing age and (b) dental health care is provided too late for most people.