Tailored preventive oral health intervention improves dental health among elderly

A tailored preventive oral health intervention significantly improved the cleanliness of teeth and dentures among elderly home care clients. In addition, functional ability and cognitive function were strongly associated with better oral hygiene, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The study is part of a larger intervention study, NutOrMed, and the findings were published in the Age and Aging journal.

The NutOrMed – optimising nutrition, oral health and medication for older home care clients – study was started in 2013, comprising a six-month oral health and nutrition intervention among home care clients aged 75 years or older.

An interview and an oral clinical examination were carried out in the intervention group of 151 participants and in the control group of 118 participants. The mean age of the intervention group was 84 years, and 85 years in the control group. The intervention group received a tailored intervention of oral and denture hygiene. They were advised to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and to clean interdental spaces, dentures and oral mucosa daily. Both groups were re-interviewed and re-examined after six months. The intervention significantly reduced the number of plaque covered teeth and improved denture hygiene. The reduction in the number of plaque covered teeth was associated with functional ability and cognitive function. Despite the positive effect, nearly half of the teeth in the intervention group had plaque even after the intervention. In the control group, oral health habits deteriorated during the 6-month follow-up.

Oral health markedly affects the quality of life, nutrition and general health in older adults. Cognitive impairment and functional dependency often lead to compromised daily oral hygiene. It is a responsibility of oral care personnel to plan an individualised and realistic preventive regime for elderly home care clients. For clients who need daily help with oral hygiene procedures, support in oral hygiene should be incorporated into the daily care plan carried out by home care nurses.

For further information, please contact: 

Annamari Nihtilä, Clinical lecturer, Institute of Dentistry, annamari.nihtila@uef.fi, tel. +358 50 5697800

Original publication: 

Annamari Nihtilä, Eveliina Tuuliainen, Kaija Komulainen, Kirsi Autonen-Honkonen, Irma Nykänen, Sirpa Hartikainen, Riitta Ahonen, Miia Tiihonen, Anna Liisa Suominen; Preventive oral health intervention among old home care clients. Age Ageing 2017 1-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afx020 [Epub ahead of print]

Tags:

About Us

The University of Eastern Finland is the most multidisciplinary university in Finland. Our high standard of interdisciplinary research and education respond to global challenges and build a sustainable future. Our research is ranked among the best in the world in several fields. We offer education in nearly 100 major subjects and we train experts for tomorrow’s changing labour market needs. The university comprises four faculties: the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. Our campuses are located in Joensuu and Kuopio. The UEF is home to approximately 15 500 students and 2 700 members of staff.

Contacts

  • University of Eastern Finland
    Joensuu / Kuopio
    http://www.uef.fi/en
  • Joensuu Campus
    Yliopistokatu 2 P.O. Box 111 FI-80101 Joensuu
  • Kuopio Campus
    Yliopistonranta 1 P.O. Box 1627 FI-70211 Kuopio

Subscribe