Oral health and rehabilitation among the institutionalized elderly

Nélio Veiga, Liliany Diniz, Carlos Pereira, Odete Amaral, Inês Coelho, Joana Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The aging and the elderly are highly associated with limitation or dependency, with some loss of capacities and the gain of conditions or age-associated pathologies. Despite advances in preventive dentistry, edentulism and oral diseases are major public health issues in Portugal, mainly among the elderly. This study investigated the oral status and level of oral rehabilitation among Portuguese institutionalized elderly. The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of edentulism and assess the oral rehabilitation and oral/prosthetic hygiene habits in a sample of institutionalized elderly using a cross-sectional study in a sample of 118 institutionalized elderly. Data collection was performed by applying a questionnaire about oral health behaviors and through an intraoral observation in order to determine the oral status and verify the condition of the oral rehabilitation of each participant. The findings revealed that 78.6% have a number of decayed, missing and filled teeth more than 20, 58.8% presented total edentulism (with no natural teeth in the oral cavity) and 66.7% had a removable prosthesis. Only 44.1% practiced daily oral/prosthetic hygiene at least twice a day while 29.0% and 67.7% complained of toothache and difficulty in chewing respectively. The educational level of the elderly was associated with dental pain (p=0.012) and oral/prosthetic hygiene (p=0.034). A high prevalence of tooth loss was found in the sample studied and also the need to improve the removable prosthesis is fundamental. Improvement in oral health care and oral hygiene habits is essential to promote better oral health and quality of life among the institutionalized elderly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2353-2360
Number of pages8
JournalThe European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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