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Community Dent Health. 2002 Jun;19(2):90-7.

Oral health-related quality of life of a population of medically compromised elderly people.

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  • 1Community Dental Health Services Research Unit, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to assess the oral health-related quality of life of a population of medically compromised individuals most of whom lived within a long-term care centre.

DESIGN:

A cross-sectional survey with data collected by means of a personal interview and a review of dental records. Subjects 225 subjects with a mean age of 83 years, most of whom were medically compromised and lived within a multi-level geriatric care setting.

MEASURES:

The questionnaire included two single-item indicators of oral health and two oral health indexes; namely, the Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI) and the short form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14). It also included three measures intended to tap the broader construct of quality of life; namely morale, perceived life stress and life satisfaction.

RESULTS:

The main oral problems of this population were missing teeth, dry mouth and limitations in chewing ability. One third rated their oral health as only fair or poor and 20% were dissatisfied with their oral health status. Using the GOHAI, 53% reported experiencing one or more functional or psychosocial problems 'very often' or 'all the time'. Since the OHIP-14 taps more severe impacts, functional and psychosocial problems were reported by 17%. All four oral health indicators were significantly associated with the quality of life measures, indicating that those with poor self-perceived oral health had lower morale, more life stress and lower levels of life satisfaction. These associations remained after controlling for other potential influences on quality of life such as general health, income and marital status.

CONCLUSION:

These data suggests that oral disorders have a significant effect on the well-being and life satisfaction of the individuals in the study even though they are characterised by high rates of chronic physical and mental conditions and physical disabilities. Consequently, access to appropriate oral health care is likely to improve overall quality of life. The data also suggest that instruments such as the GOHAI and OHIP-14 are measuring aspects of life that these individuals regard as being important.

PMID:
12146588
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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