Self-reported oral health in the Dutch 100-plus Study of cognitively healthy centenarians: An observational cohort study

Nina Beker, Claar D. van der Maarel-Wierink, Cees de Baat, Henne Holstege

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Background: Due to improved healthcare, more people reach extreme ages. Oral health in the oldest-old has thus far been poorly described. Here, we investigated self-reported oral health factors, use of professional oral health care, and associations with clinical measures in centenarians considered cognitively healthy. Methods: In this observational cohort study, we included 162 (74% female) centenarians from the Dutch 100-plus Study cohort who self-reported to be cognitively healthy, as confirmed by a proxy. Centenarians were questioned about their physical well-being including medication use and their cognitive functioning was evaluated using the Mini-Mental State Examination. Questions regarding oral health included preservation of teeth, oral pain or discomfort, chewing ability, xerostomia, and time since last visit to an oral health care provider. Associations between oral health and clinical measures were investigated with ordinal logistic or linear regression analyses, adjusted for gender, age, and education. Results: The majority of the centenarians indicated to have good oral health: 76% felt no oral pain/discomfort, 65% indicated to chew well; while only 18% had symptoms of xerostomia. Of all centenarians, 83% were edentulous and were wearing removable complete maxillary and mandibular dental prostheses, 1% was edentulous with no dental prosthesis, while 16% was dentate with or without removable partial dental prostheses (10 and 6% respectively). Dentate and edentulous centenarians experienced similar levels of oral pain and/or discomfort, chewing ability, xerostomia, and their cognitive functioning was similar. No relationship between cognitive functioning and chewing ability was found. Xerostomia was associated with medication use (p =.001), which mostly regarded medications for cardiovascular diseases, diuretics, anti-coagulants, and antacids. Only 18% of the centenarians visited an oral health care provider during the year prior to the interview, of whom 48% were dentate centenarians. Notably, 49% of the centenarians had not visited an oral health care provider for ≥10 years. Conclusions: Most centenarians were edentulous and did not report oral complaints. Less than one-fifth of the centenarians continued to seek regular professional oral health care. Since the proportion of dentates in the oldest-old will increase in the near future, a proactive attitude toward this group is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Article number355
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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