Provision of Oral Health Care by Dentists to Community-Dwelling Older Patients

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


BACKGROUND: Research into oral health care for older people has shown that dental care in general decreases with increasing age and frailty and, therefore, oral health care provision may be complex. The aim of this study is to identify the oral health care dentists provide to community-dwelling older people and which barriers they experience in doing this.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, a representative sample of dentists in the Netherlands was asked to prospectively select one older patient and describe this patient using a specially developed registration form; the patient was requested to fill out a questionnaire. The relationship between experienced barriers in providing oral health care to older patients and characteristics of the dentists and the patients was studied by means univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: In total, 923 dentists were asked to participate in the study. Data were available for 39.4% dentist-patient pairs. In most cases (87.4%), oral health care was focussed on conservation of the dentition. In all, 14.0% of the dentists experienced barriers in providing oral health care for older people. Some patient factors increase the risk of experiencing barriers, eg, the more difficult behaviour of older patients and the greater disease burden.

CONCLUSIONS: Oral health care was mostly focussed on conservation of the dentition, and dentists especially experience barriers in oral health provision to older patients if they are already frail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Dental Journal
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Barriers
  • Community-dwelling older people
  • Dentist
  • Oral health care provision

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