Romanian Journal of Medical and Dental Education Volum 13 Issue 2, 2024 TRENDS IN ORAL HEALTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE OF ELDERLY PATIENTS


Diana Zapodeanu, Doriana Agop Forna, Mihaela Sălceanu, Claudiu Topoliceanu, Larisa Țarevici, Alice Murariu


Poor oral health can have significant consequences on the overall condition of an elderly person, affecting basic functions such as eating, speaking, and even social interactions. As they age, patients often face a range of specific oral health issues, such as tooth loss, gingivitis, periodontal disease, or dry mouth, which can significantly affect their quality of life. Pain, discomfort, and difficulty in chewing or swallowing food can lead to malnutrition and weight loss, negatively impacting general health and energy levels. Besides the impact on nutrition, oral health problems can influence both the physical appearance and the self-esteem of the patient. Moreover, oral health status can generate social anxiety, which may lead to isolation and depression. Education about proper oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist for assessment and treatment, as well as adopting a healthy lifestyle that promotes oral health, such as quitting smoking and limiting the consumption of sugar-rich foods are important aspects in the care of oral health and improving the quality of life for elderly patients. The OHIP-14 (Oral Health Impact Profile) index is a tool used to assess the impact of oral health on quality of life. The questions in the OHIP-14 index address various aspects of oral health, including dental pain and discomfort, masticatory functionality, the psychosocial impact of dental problems, and the overall health-related impact. The scores obtained can be used to quantify the impact of dental problems on quality of life and to monitor the evolution over time of the patient’s health status.

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