Dental Treatment Improves Self-Rated Oral Health in Homeless Veterans – A Brief Communication

Authors

  • Gretchen Gibson DDS, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. VA Medical Center, Fayetteville, AR
      Gretchen Gibson, DDS, MPH, Dental (160), Fayetteville VA Medical Center, 1100 N College Ave, Fayetteville, AR 72703. Tel: 479-444-5042; Fax: 479-587-5963; e-mail: Gretchen.gibson@med.va.gov.
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  • Erik F. Reifenstahl DMD,

    1. US Army Dental Activity, Honolulu, HI
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  • Carolyn J. Wehler RDH, MPH,

    1. VA Medical Center, Center for Health, Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, Bedford, MA, and the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
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  • Sharron E. Rich MPH,

    1. VA Medical Center, Center for Health, Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, Bedford, MA, and the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
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  • Nancy R. Kressin PhD,

    1. VA Medical Center, Center for Health, Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, Bedford, MA, and the Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
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  • Tracy B. King RDH, MS,

    1. Baylor College of Dentistry, a member of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Dallas, TX
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  • Judith A. Jones DDS, MPH, DScD

    1. VA Medical Center, Center for Health, Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, Bedford, MA, and the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
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  • Source of support: Nancy R. Kressin is supported by a Research Career Scientist award from the Health Services Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs. Judith A. Jones is supported by NIH Grant K24DEO18211. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Gretchen Gibson, DDS, MPH, Dental (160), Fayetteville VA Medical Center, 1100 N College Ave, Fayetteville, AR 72703. Tel: 479-444-5042; Fax: 479-587-5963; e-mail: Gretchen.gibson@med.va.gov.

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess homeless veterans' perception of their oral health and the impact that oral disease and treatment have on self-assessed quality of life. Methods: Outcomes included measures of general and oral-specific quality of life and functional status. Single-item self-report of oral health and the General Oral Health Assessment Index were assessed at baseline and after treatment. Results: One hundred and twelve veterans completed the baseline questionnaire, and 48 completed the follow-up. Veterans who were eligible for ongoing dental care had improved General Oral Health Assessment scores, while patients who received only emergency dental care saw a decreased score (2.46 versus −2.12). General Oral Health Assessment improvement was significantly related to fewer teeth at baseline (18 versus 23), a lower baseline General Oral Health Assessment (23.6 versus 28.1), having a denture visit (22 versus 35 percent), and improvement in self-reported oral health (25 versus 42 percent). Conclusion: There was significant improvement in homeless veterans' perceived oral health after receiving dental care.

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