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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790XOn-line version ISSN 1980-5497


GAIAO, Luciene Ribeiro; ALMEIDA, Maria Eneide Leitão de  and  HEUKELBACH, Jorg. Epidemiology of tooth decay, periodontal diseases, use and need of prostheses in the elderly living in a nursing home in the city of Fortaleza, State of Ceará (Brazil). Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2005, vol.8, n.3, pp.316-323. ISSN 1415-790X.

In Brazil, the elderly population has been growing continuously, leading to a higher demand for long-term institutions for the elderly. In spite of that, studies on the oral health of institutionalized elderly in northeast Brazil are virtually non-existent. The objective of the present study was to analyze the dental and periodontal conditions and the use and need for prostheses in the institutionalized elderly in a northeastern Brazilian city. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 160 individuals (95.2% of the target population), 65 years old or older, living in a nursing home in the city of Fortaleza/CE - Brazil, consisting of the analysis of patient records and oral examination. Their mean age was 76.6 years. The DMFT index of the institutionalized elderly was high: 29.73. Lost teeth represented the highest proportion (28.42); 109 (68.1%) elderly did not have any healthy teeth. Of the 160 elderly, 93 (58.1%) were total edentates and 56 (35.0%) had teeth with exposed roots. Of the exposed roots, 16% were decayed or filled. Of the 67 dentate elderly, 54 (80.6%) required dental extraction. Of the total 573 teeth present, 256 (44.6%) required some kind of treatment, and 194 (75.8%) of them dental extraction. Of the study population, 112 (70%) did not use any upper prosthesis, and 130 (81.3%) did not use any lower prosthesis. The need of an upper prosthesis was detected in 135 elderly (84.4%), and 142 (88.7%) elderly needed a lower prosthesis. Of 117 sextants present in 160 elderly, the majority (838%) had dental calculus. These data show that most of the elderly had poor oral health. Interventional measures focused on these populations, such as health education and preventive treatment, are, therefore, necessary.

Keywords : Brazil; Epidemiology; Elderly; Institution; Oral Health.

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