Assessed and perceived oral health of older people who visit the dental practice, an exploratory cross-sectional study

Pieternella C Bots-VantSpijker*, Claar D van der Maarel-Wierink, Jos M G A Schols, Josef J M Bruers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To assess the oral health of older people who visit the community dental practice from both the dentists' and the patients' perspective.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this exploratory cross-sectional study the oral health of Dutch community dwelling older people was assessed. A representative sample of general dental practitioners was asked to randomly and prospectively select one older patient and describe this patient using a specially-developed registration form; in addition the patient was requested to complete a questionnaire. The oral health of older people was described from the perspective of the dentists and the perspective of the older people themselves based on the definition of oral health from the World Dental Federation (FDI]. Relations between oral health of older people and dentist and older patient characteristics were analysed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rho) and an ordinal regression model.

RESULTS: In total, 923 dentists were asked to participate in the study; data was available for 39.4% dentist-patient pairs. Dentists assessed the oral health of older patients as good or acceptable in 51.4% of the cases while this was the case in 76.2% of older patients themselves. The assessment of the dentist gets more negative with high treatment intensity and with older patients having certain diseases and more medication, while the assessment is more positive for older patients who visit the dentist on a regular basis. Older people's assessment of their oral health gets more negative by being female and with high treatment intensity, having certain diseases and higher use of medication.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Chronically illness as expressed by the number of diseases and the use of medication, seems to be a risk factor for poor oral health. Older patients themselves assess their oral health differently, mostly more positive, than their dentist.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0257561
Pages (from-to)e0257561
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • CARE


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