Assessment of oral health care among the institutionalized elderly caregivers

Maria Tavares, Ana Monteiro, Cristiana Dias, Inês Fonseca, Rita Bornes, Patrícia Sofia Soares Couto, Nélio Jorge Veiga

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Introduction: The importance of oral hygiene among the elderly cannot be overlooked, providing physical and psychological well-being, increasing self-esteem and maintaining general health, based on the relationship between oral health and general health. Objectives: The aim of this study consisted of the assessment of the oral health care developed by the caregivers towards their institutionalized elderly in order to understand the necessities of the elderly people and their caregivers. Design and Methods: A cross-sectional study was developed based on a convenience sample that included a final sample of 17 caregivers of institutionalized individuals with 65 years of age or over. It was collected information based on oral hygiene habits, oral health problems, and the role of caregivers in this population and general assessment of oral health status. A questionnaire was developed and applied in the form of an interview directly to the caregivers of the nursing homes Viscondessa São Caetano and Mariana Seixas Foundation in Viseu, Portugal. Results: When asked, caregivers reported that it is rare that the elderly complain of pain or discomfort caused by oral/dental problems. This can also be explained due to the difficulty of communication and the level of dementia that the elderly may present. Regarding dental prostheses, the caregivers considered that the elderly only sometimes or rarely it is that they sanitize them well, which demonstrates the clear need to define better primary prevention strategies for this specific population, passing mainly by oral health education and promotion among the caregivers. They also mentioned that they almost always remove the prosthesis to sleep, which a satisfactory point is considering that the nocturnal rest of the prosthesis consists of a way to avoid the appearance of pathologies such as prosthetic stomatitis. Conclusions: Oral health training is necessary in the elderly and their caregivers, and greater support is also needed when they perform oral hygiene in order to improve their general condition oral health. It is important to highlight the positive fact that the elderly, increasingly, do the nocturnal rest of the dental prosthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Dentistry and Oral Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2019


  • Oral health
  • Caregivers
  • Elderly
  • Health promotion


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