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Acta Odontol Scand. 2008;66(6):368-73. doi: 10.1080/00016350802378654.

Change in oral health status among the institutionalized Norwegian elderly over a period of 16 years.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Dentistry-Gerodontology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.



To assess the oral health status of elderly residents living in nursing homes, and to determine whether there have been any changes between 1988 and 2004.


The dental, periodontal, prosthetic, and oral mucosal status was recorded for 155 elderly long-term residents in five nursing homes. The results were compared with those of an identical cross-sectional study from 1988, using the same nursing homes, examination procedures, and evaluation criteria. The participation rate was 89.6%.


Edentulism was less frequent in 2004 (43%) than in 1988 (71%), and the mean number of teeth among the dentate participants had increased from 10.7 to 14.6. The proportion of subjects with decayed teeth increased from 55% in 1988 to 72% in 2004, and the mean DMFT (decayed, missing, and filled teeth) increased from 19.4 to 23.2. The frequency of subjects with periodontal pockets of 4 mm or more increased from 43% to 65% during the 16-year period. More participants had crowns or bridges. Of the denture-wearing subjects, more were affected by stomatitis in 2004 than in 1988; however, a decrease in the degree of severity was evident.


As more people retain their own teeth throughout life and the prevalence of oral diseases increases among the institutionalized elderly, their objective need for dental treatment is even greater than before. This underscores the necessity for developing effective and oral care programs for the elderly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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