Objectives: To determine the oral health status, especially the level of oral microbial flora and oral malodour, of institutionalised elderly people compared with non-institutionalised elderly people.
Setting: Three institutions and numerous private homes.
Subjects: 56 institutionalised and 56 non-institutionalised elderly people.
Main Outcome Measures: Institutionalised elderly people had higher levels of Candida, staphylococci, and oral malodour.
Results: Institutionalised elderly people had a higher level of Candida in denture wearers, and a higher level of staphylococci and oral malodour compared with the non-institutionalised elderly.
Conclusion: The institutionalised elderly have a higher risk of opportunistic infections and oral health care should be improved to protect them from these infections and to reduce oral malodour.