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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • care-aides;
  • clinical trial;
  • dentistry;
  • educational methods in health care;
  • long-term care;
  • nutrition;
  • oral hygiene

Abstract –  Objectives:  This randomized clinical trial aimed to assess the effectiveness of a pyramid-based education for improving the oral health of elders in long-term care (LTC) facilities.

Methods:  Fourteen facilities matched for size were assigned randomly to an active or control group. At baseline in each facility, care-aides in the active group participated with a full-time nurse educator in a seminar about oral health care, and had unlimited access to the educator for oral health-related advice throughout the 3-month trial. Care-aides in the control group participated in a similar seminar with a dental hygienist but they received no additional advice. The residents in the facilities at baseline and after 3 months were examined clinically to measure their oral hygiene, gingival health, masticatory potential, Body Mass Index and Malnutrition Indicator Score, and asked to report on chewing difficulties.

Results:  Clinical measures after 3 months were not significantly different from baseline in either group, indicating that education neither influenced the oral health nor the dental hygiene of the residents.

Conclusions:  A pyramid-based educational scheme with nurses and care-aides did not improve the oral health of frail elders in this urban sample of LTC facilities.