Oral health and history of respiratory tract infection in frail institutionalised elders

Authors

  • P. Mojon,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Gerodontology and Removable Prosthodontics, Section of Dental Medicine, University of Geneva, 19 rue Barthélemy-Menn, 1205 Geneva/Switzerland
      P. Mojon, Division of Gerodontology and Removable Prosthodontics, Section of Dental Medicine, University of Geneva, 19 rue Barthélemy-Menn, 1205 Geneva/Switzerland, E-mail mojon@cmu.unige.ch, tel. +4122 382 91 85, fax +4122 781 12 97
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  • E. Budtz-Jørgensen,

    1. Division of Gerodontology and Removable Prosthodontics, Section of Dental Medicine, University of Geneva, 19 rue Barthélemy-Menn, 1205 Geneva/Switzerland
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  • J.-P. Miche,

    1. University Institutes of Geriatrics, Geneva/Switzerland
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  • H. Limeback

    1. University of Toronto, Ontario/Canada.
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  • .Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Dr. Baehni for his help in this project and the thoughtful review ofthe manuscript. This investigation was supported by the Swiss National Foundation for Research, Grants 32-35493.92 and 32-40905.94

P. Mojon, Division of Gerodontology and Removable Prosthodontics, Section of Dental Medicine, University of Geneva, 19 rue Barthélemy-Menn, 1205 Geneva/Switzerland, E-mail mojon@cmu.unige.ch, tel. +4122 382 91 85, fax +4122 781 12 97

Abstract

Objectives:The purpose of this study was to look for a relationship between history of respiratory tract infection (RTI) and oral health in very old subjects. Setting and Subjects:302 frail elders (mean age: 85 years) living in a medical care facility were examined by one dentist. Outcome Measures:The incidence of RTI over 1 year had been recorded along with markers of nutritional status and degree of dependency. The oral examination comprised an evaluation of hygiene, quality of prostheses and the prevalence of caries, periodontal disease and mucosal disorders. Results:One third (33%) of the subjects had experienced at least one episode of RTI and a fifth (19%) had visited the dentist in emergency. The incidence of RTI had been greater among dentate subjects and those who came to the dentist in emergency. The dentate subjects with a history of RTI had higher plaque score (P=0.02). Half (49%) of the subjects had oral disorders that could develop in a dental emergency and these subjects had had a higher risk of RTI (relative risk: 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1–3.9). The presence of selected oral disorders associated with low serum albumin increased the relative risk of having had RTI to 3.2 (1.5–6.7). The association between presence of actual oral health problems and previous experience of RTI was more noticeable in those who had poor general health or were more debilitated. Conclusions:The present study suggests that poor oral hygiene and the presence of potential emergency could be major risk factors for RTI among the frail elderly.

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