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Dental status and its correlation with polypharmacy and multimorbidity in a Swiss nursing home population: a cross-sectional study

Clin Oral Investig. 2023 Mar 7. doi: 10.1007/s00784-023-04906-6. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To assess the correlation between oral health status in terms of present teeth, implants, removable prostheses, and polypharmacy and/or multimorbidity in three Swiss nursing homes with affiliated or integrated dental care.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three Swiss geriatric nursing homes with integrated dental care. Dental information consisted of the number of teeth, root remnants, implants, and presence of removable dental prostheses. Furthermore, the medical history was assessed in terms of diagnosed medical conditions and prescribed medication. Age, dental status, polypharmacy, and multimorbidity were compared and correlated using t-tests and Pearson correlation coefficients.

RESULTS: One hundred eighty patients with a mean age of 85.5 ± 7.4 years were included of which a portion of 62% presented with multimorbidity and 92% with polypharmacy. The mean number of remaining teeth and remnant roots were 14.1 ± 9.9 and 1.0 ± 3.1, respectively. Edentulous individuals comprised 14%, and over 75% of the population did not have implants. Over 50% of the included patients wore removable dental prostheses. A negative correlation with statistical significance (p = 0.001) between age and tooth loss (r = – 0.27) was observed. Finally, there was a non-statistically correlation between a higher number of remnant roots and specific medications linked to salivary dysfunction; specifically antihypertensive medication and central nervous system stimulants.

CONCLUSION: The presence of a poor oral health status was associated with polypharmacy and multimorbidity among the study population.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Identifying elderly patients in need of oral healthcare in nursing homes is a challenge. In Switzerland, the collaboration of dentists and nursing staff is still improvable, but is urgently needed due to the demographic changes and raising treatment demand of the oldest portion of the population.

PMID:36881159 | DOI:10.1007/s00784-023-04906-6

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