Edentulism and dental caries in Victorian nursing homes
Objectives: The aim of this project was to investigate edentulism and dental caries in nursing home residents in Victoria, Australia.
Background: The Australian population is ageing with a growing number of people living in nursing homes. These residents are at increased risk for dental caries, have more teeth present now than at any time in the past 50 years and often have difficulty maintaining adequate oral hygiene.
Materials and methods: Clinical dental examinations were conducted at 31 nursing homes in Melbourne and regional Victoria between May 2005 and June 2006. A total of 510 residents were examined out of 1345 eligible participants. Socio-demographic and medical history was collected via questionnaire.
Results: Just over half of the residents were dentate (53.9%), and dentate residents had a mean of 14.4 teeth present and 2.66 untreated decayed teeth. Residents who required total assistance with oral hygiene had more decayed teeth and fewer filled teeth than residents who did not require assistance.
Conclusions: Nursing home residents in Victoria are retaining an increasing number of natural teeth and have more tooth surfaces at risk for dental caries. Untreated dental caries was a significant problem for residents, particularly for those who are dependent on others for their daily oral hygiene care.