• saliva;
  • oral health;
  • medicine use;
  • elderly

doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2012.00627.x

Salivary tests associated with elderly people’s oral health

Introduction:   The saliva constitutes essential condition for the individual’s health.

Aim:  Identify the relation of the salivary flow and saliva pH with medicine use and oral discomfort in elderly.

Methods and materials:  Cross-sectional study with 68 elderly living in a long staying institution. Salivary tests were performed based on Bo Krasse’s methodology. For pH, the Universalindikator – Merck tape was used. A questionnaire was applied, organising data through Software SPSS version 17. Pearson’s qui-square distribution, Fisher’s exact test and t-test for paired data were used, with significance level of 5% and confidence interval of 95%.

Results:  Among the 68 elderly (average of 70.4 years, SD ± 7.27), 80% showed normal pH. The rate of salivary flow was as follows: very low, 32.3%; lowered, 41.2%; and normal, 25.5%; 30.9% reported dry mouth; 22.1% problems with taste; 17.6%, dysphagia; and 14.7%, burning mouth. 76.5% used medicines. There was statistical significance between medicine use and dry mouth (p = 0.015). They showed an association between salivary flow and medicine use (p = 0.048), feels dry mouth (0.018) and difficulty to swallow (p = 0.046), and saliva pH without stimulation and feels dry mouth (p = 0.003), difficulty to swallow (p = 0.006) and burning mouth sensation (p = 0.014).

Conclusion:  Low salivary flow and saliva pH interfere on elderly people’s health and medicine use influences on results.