Oral health status and needs of homebound elderly in an urban home-based primary care service


Corresponding author e-mail: ralph.katz@nyu.edu



This study assessed the oral health status, dental utilization and dental needs of the homebound elderly (HBE) care patients within the Mount Sinai Visiting Doctor program.


Of the 334 eligible patients, 57% agreed to participate and 95.4% completed the clinical examinations, the Dental Utilization and Needs survey and Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index conducted in each subject's home by a trained research team.


Among 75% who were dentate subjects, 40% needed restorative dental care, 45.6% needed dental extractions, and 33% complained of current oral pain. Overall, 92.0% needed some type of dental care and 96% stated that they had not seen a dentist since they became homebound (mean number of years in program = 3.2 ± 2.58).


Findings show the oral health status of these homebound elderly was poor and their quality of life was significantly affected by the lack of basic dental care.