• caries;
  • elderly;
  • home support;
  • occlusal contacts;
  • periodontal disease

doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2011.00507.x

Oral status in home-dwelling elderly dependent on moderate or substantial supportive care for daily living: prevalence of edentulous subjects, caries and periodontal disease

Objectives:  The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of edentulous subjects, caries and periodontal disease among the home-dwelling elderly with moderate and substantial needs of support for daily living.

Materials and method:  A sample of 302 randomly selected elderly with moderate or substantial needs of supportive care were examined in Sweden. Several oral clinical variables were registered: number of teeth, dentures, caries, probing pocket depth, gingival bleeding and Eichner’s index.

Results:  Both in general and in oral health, the differences were small when comparing elderly with moderate and substantial care needs for daily living. Those with substantial needs had more caries lesions (< 0.01) and more gingival bleeding (< 0.05), while the number of teeth and prevalence of edentulous subjects did not differ in relation to the need of daily support. The elderly had, on average, 9.8–11.7 teeth, one-third of whom had no natural teeth. According to Eichner’s index, half of the elderly in both groups had no opposing tooth contacts. Fifty-five per cent used dentures.

Conclusions:  Elderly people with needs of supportive care have lost many teeth before they become dependent. Health promotion should be a priority in early ageing populations to prevent oral diseases and tooth loss.