Abstract

Background

poor oral health is common among older people dependent on supportive care and it affects their quality of life. Cognitive impairment and functional dependency may increase the risk of compromised daily oral hygiene.

Aim

to investigate the effectiveness of a tailored preventive oral health intervention among home care clients aged 75 years or over.

Patients and methods

the intervention group comprised 151 patients (84.4 ± 5.6 years) and the control group 118 patients (84.7 ± 5.2 years). An interview and a clinical examination were carried out before a tailored intervention of oral and denture hygiene. The participants in both groups were re-interviewed and re-examined after 6 months.

Results

the intervention significantly reduced the number of plaque covered teeth and improved denture hygiene. In addition, functional ability and cognitive function were significantly associated with better oral hygiene.

Conclusions

the intervention had a positive effect on oral hygiene, however the number of teeth with plaque remained high, even after the intervention. Multiple approaches based on individual needs are required to improve the oral health of vulnerable older adults, including integrating dental preventive care into daily care plan carried out by home care nurses.

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