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Open Access Research

Oral health-related quality of life in an aging Canadian population

Robert D Kotzer1*, Herenia P Lawrence1, Joanne B Clovis2 and Debora C Matthews3

Author Affiliations

1 Discipline of Dental Public Health, Department of Biological and Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, 124 Edward Street, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1G6, Canada

2 School of Dental Hygiene, Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, 5981 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada

3 Department of Dental Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, 5981 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 1W2, Canada

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2012, 10:50  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-50

Published: 15 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The purpose of the study is to describe the impact of oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) on the lives of pre-seniors and seniors living in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Methods

This cross-sectional study involved 1461 participants, grouped by age (pre-seniors [45–64] and seniors [65+]) and residential status (long-term care facility [LTC] or community). OHRQoL was measured using the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaire (OHIP-14) in a random digit dialing telephone survey (for community residents) or a face-to-face interview (for LTC residents). Intra-oral examinations were performed by one of six dentists calibrated to W.H.O. standards.

Results

Approximately one in four pre-seniors and seniors reported at least one OHRQoL impact ‘fairly/very often’. The most commonly reported impacts were within the dimensions ‘physical pain’ and ‘psychological discomfort’. It was found that 12.2% of LTC residents found it uncomfortable to eat any foods ‘fairly/very’ often compared to 7.7% in the community, and 11.6% of LTC residents reported being self-conscious ‘fairly/very often’ compared to 8.2% in the community. Of those residing in the community, pre-seniors (28.8%) reported significantly more impacts than seniors (22.0%); but there were no significant differences in OHRQoL between pre-seniors (21.2%) and seniors (25.3%) in LTC. Pre-seniors living in the community scored significantly higher than community dwelling seniors on prevalence, extent and severity of OHIP-14 scores. Logistic regression revealed that for the community dwelling sample, individuals living in rural areas in addition to those being born outside of Canada were approximately 2.0 times more likely to report an impact ‘fairly/very often’, whereas among the LTC sample, those having a high school education or less were 2.3 times more likely to report an impact.

Conclusions

Findings indicate that the oral health and OHRQoL of both pre-seniors and seniors in LTC residents is poor. Community dwelling pre-seniors have the highest prevalence rate of oral impacts.

Keywords:
Oral health; Quality of life; Elderly; Aging; Seniors; Pre-seniors; Canada