Dental findings in geriatric populations with diverse medical backgrounds

Walter J. Loesche, Judith Abrams, Margaret S. Terpenning, Walter A. Bretz, B. Liza Dominguez, Natahe S. Grossman, Gary H. Hildebrandt, Susan E. Langmore, Dennis E. Lopatin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether there is a difference in the oral/dental health in older persons with different life styles and medical status. Study design: Survey (cross-sectional study) included four groups: (1) subjects (n=123) living in a residential retirement home or community dwelling; (2) subjects (n=218) seeking dental treatment at a Veterans Affairs Dental Outpatient Clinic; (3) subjects (n=132) resident in a VA long-term care facility; and (4) subjects (n=81) recently admitted to a VA acute care ward with a diagnosis of cerebral vascular accident or other neurologic problem. Each subject answered questions on medical and dental health and dietary preferences in a comprehensive interview. They were given a comprehensive dental examination that included measurements of stimulated salivary flow and minor salivary gland output. Results: The data from groups 2 and 3 confirmed previous reports that independent living subjects have better oral/dental health than dependent living subjects. The data from groups 1 and 4, obtained from geriatric populations on the opposite ends of the medical health/disease continuum provide new information that suggests that good medical health and good oral/dental health are linked. The subjects in group 1 were very healthy as judged by their longevity; 54% were ≥80 years and they had low reported prevalence of medical disease. Only 6% were edentulous and the dentate persons were missing 4.5 teeth. In contrast, over 50% of the patients in group 4 were <70 years; they had an edentulous rate of 49% and among the dentate persons had an average 12 missing and 5 decayed teeth. Conclusions: The medically healthy persons had excellent dental health whereas the sickest persons were either edentulous or had many missing teeth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by a USPH Research grant DE-09142 from the National Institute of Dental Research, and IP30-AG-008808 from the Na-ti0nal Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892. aUniversity of Michigan Schools of Dentistry and Medicine. bDepartment of Biostatistics, Henry Ford Hospital. cUniversity of Michigan School of Medicine and Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center. dUniversity of Michigan School of Dentistry. eUniversity of Michigan School of Dentistry and Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Received for publication Dec. 19, 1994; revision requested Feb. 7, 1995; accepted for publication Mar. 3, 1995. Copyright 9 1995 by Mosby-Year Book, Inc. 1079-2104/95/$3.00 + 0 7/13/64705


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