• oral hygiene;
  • denture hygiene;
  • institutionalised elderly;
  • periodontal disease;
  • caries;
  • denture stomatitis

Objectives:  To record self-reported hygiene habits, examine the oral conditions of a sample group of institutionalised elderly, and examine possible relationships between these habits and conditions.

Design:  Cross-sectional.

Setting:  All the institutions for the elderly in Taubaté, Brazil.

Subjects:  The entire population of these institutionalised elderly people (n = 553).

Intervention:  The subjects were interviewed and underwent an oral examination.

Main outcome measures:  Oral hygiene habits, oral conditions and statistical relationships between habits and oral conditions were recorded.

Results:  The average age of the subjects who knew their age (n = 364) was 74.9 years (±12.9), and 64.7% of the sample group were females. Denture-related stomatitis was found in 19.5%, impaired manual dexterity in 40%, dry mouth sensation in 36.3%, difficulty in performing oral hygiene in 20%, no oral hygiene-related orientation in 54.1%, no periodic oral examinations in 59.5%, and no tongue cleaning in 68.3% was declared. Among dentate subjects, 73.3% had periodontal disease, 54.7% had caries, 26% reported no toothbrushing, and 7.3% reported flossing. Of the denture wearers, 7% did not brush their dentures. Denture-related stomatitis showed a statistical relationship with impaired manual dexterity (p = 0.012) and an inverse statistical relationship with denture brushing frequency (p = 0.006). Periodontal disease showed an inverse relationship to flossing (p < 0.001) and tongue cleaning (p = 0.0026). Caries showed an inverse relationship with tooth-brushing (p = 0.043), flossing (0.022), proper oral hygiene orientation (p = 0.041) and periodical check-ups (p = 0.007).

Conclusion:  Oral hygiene practices in this sample group were found to be inadequate, and statistically significant relationships were verified between the lack of good oral hygiene practices and the deleterious oral conditions.