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J Dent Hyg. 2020 Feb;94(1):39-48.

Oral Health of Older Adults in Washington State.


Purpose: An aging population, combined with increasing tooth retention, could significantly impact the dental care delivery system. The purpose of this study was to assess self-reported oral health and the factors associated with oral health outcomes among a random sample of older adults in Washington State.Methods: A telephone survey of adults 55+ years was used to collect information on factors associated with oral health, plus four outcome variables; substantial tooth loss (6+ teeth lost), oral problems, oral pain, and poor health of teeth. Data were weighted to reflect the state's age and gender statistics.Results: A total of 2,988 older adults completed the survey during 2017. Substantial tooth loss (18%), oral problems (17%) and oral pain (13%) were the most frequently reported issues. Of the adults with teeth, 17% reported fair/poor health of teeth. Compared to adults with an income of $75,000 or more, adults with an income less than $25,000 were twice as likely to have substantial tooth loss and oral problems (OR=2.1 and 2.2, respectively) and were three times more likely to report oral pain and poor health of teeth (OR=3.1 and 3.3, respectively). The oldest old (adults 75+ years), as compared to those 55-64 years, were significantly more likely to have substantial tooth loss (OR=2.6) but were less likely to report oral problems (OR=0.6), pain (OR=0.3), or poor health of teeth (OR=0.5).Conclusions: Although the majority of Washington's older adults report having good oral health, a small subgroup has oral problems which may have a negative impact on quality of life.


dental disease; older adults; oral health; oral pain; quality of life; tooth loss

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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