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Keywords:

  • dementia;
  • community dwelling;
  • oral health;
  • caries

ABSTRACT

This study compared the prevalence and experiences of oral diseases and conditions, as well as tooth loss and retained root status, in community-dwelling older adults with and without dementia. Dental examinations were conducted at baseline and at one-year for randomly selected samples of 116 dentate community-living older adults with dementia and a comparable group of 116 adults without dementia. Participants with dementia had significantly higher experiences of oral diseases and conditions at baseline and one-year compared with participants without dementia: decreased use of dentures; increased prevalence of denture-related oral mucosal lesions; increased plaque accumulation; increased prevalence and experiences of coronal and root caries; and increased numbers of decayed retained tooth roots. These higher experiences of oral diseases and conditions were related to dementia severity, not to specific dementia diagnoses. Participants with dementia already had a compromised oral health status when admitted into institutional long-term care between baseline and one-year; of concern were the high plaque levels on the natural teeth of the group of institutionalized participants with dementia.