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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994 Oct;42(10):1081-6.

Dexterity testing as a predictor of oral care ability.

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  • 1Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dental Service, OR 97207.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine a spectrum of elderly people to determine if hand function/dexterity measures can predict oral care ability.

DESIGN:

A series of dental, hand function, and dexterity measures were assessed by blinded examiners. Plaque scores were used as the criterion standard to assess plaque removal ability.

PATIENTS:

A convenience sample of 52, predominately male, elderly patients were recruited from the patient population of the Portland Veteran Affairs Medical Center and a community nursing home. Entry into the study required that the patient be able to give consent, be age 65 or older, have a minimum of six contiguous teeth or a minimum of 12 teeth total, be medically stable, have grossly adequate vision, and be able to hear and understand spoken instructions.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

The primary outcome measure was plaque score, as defined by the Turesky modification of the Quigley-Hein index. This was related to four dexterity tests (Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function test, Nine-hole Peg test, Box and Block test, Toothbrushing Ability test), a grip strength measure, and a cognitive measure (Allen Cognitive Level Test).

RESULTS:

Oral hygiene was significantly impaired among institutionalized elderly compared with outpatient elderly (P < 0.001), as was dexterity (P < 0.001). All dexterity tests correlated significantly with plaque score (Spearman rho: 0.49-0.77; P < 0.000). Forward stepwise regression analysis identified the Toothbrushing Ability Test (P < 0.0001) and the time spent brushing (P = 0.007) as the most significant predictors of plaque score.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest oral hygiene ability is decreased among long term care residents, that dexterity tests can help identify patients unable to perform adequate oral self-care, and that these tests could be used to estimate brushing ability among elderly compromised patients.

PMID:
7930333
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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