• patient ratings of dental health;
  • oral health status;
  • geriatric dentistry


Objectives: The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship of self-rated oral health to a comprehensive battery of clinical, sociodemographic, physical health, and mental health measures in a well-elderly urban population. Methods: Results are based on telephone interviews and clinical assessments of 550 subjects over 65 years of age participating in a Los Angeles-based Medicare project during 1990. Subjects were mostly female, white (89%), with above-average income. Results: Findings show that: (1) the DMF measure is not as strongly related to self-rated oral health as was a single measure of missing teeth; (2) the major predictors of self-rated oral health were “worry about teeth” and “appearance of teeth” followed by total missing teeth, race, education, and depression scores; and (3) self-rated general health is related to self-rated oral health. Conclusion: Self-rated oral health may be, for older adults, a better measure of “health” than of “morbidity.”