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Gerodontology. 2012 Jun;29(2):e742-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2011.00553.x. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Oral health practices and beliefs among caregivers of the dependent elderly.

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Clínica Integral del Adulto, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Chile, Independencia, Santiago, Chile.



Caregivers deal with oral health care of the dependent elderly; however, this has a low priority among them, and their education in daily oral care is deficient. Therefore, studying the oral care practices as well as their oral health beliefs is important as these affect the quality of the oral care they perform.


To compare formal and informal caregivers' oral care practices and oral health beliefs when taking care of severely dependent elderly.


A cross-sectional study was conducted on a convenience sample of 21 formal caregivers from a long-term residence and 18 informal caregivers from a local primary health care domiciliary programme. Caregivers were surveyed using a questionnaire designed to elicit oral care practices and oral health beliefs. The nursing Dental Coping Beliefs Scale questionnaire was translated and validated in Chile.


Significant differences were observed between formal and informal caregivers' performance of some oral health care practices. There were no significant differences between formal and informal caregivers' oral health beliefs.


Although there are some differences in formal and informal caregivers' oral health care practices, we cannot state that one caregiver's performance is better than the other, in fact, negative oral health beliefs were found in both groups.

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