A recent study conducted by researchers in Japan examined the link between poor oral health and being housebound in the elderly. Researchers discovered that having fewer teeth and no dentures were associated with an increased risk of being homebound in the future, especially among individuals between the ages of 65 to 74. As a SW Portland senior dental care provider, our team at City Dental wants our patients to know about the need to promote oral health and the use of dentures to prevent senior patients from becoming confined to their homes.
The results of the study were published online in the journal BMC Oral Health.
Poor Oral Health Linked to Homebound Behavior
The study examined data collected on over 2,000 men and over 2,3000 women over the age of 65 who participated in surveys conducted in 2006 and again in 2010. None of the survey participants were homebound, defined as leaving the home less than once a week, during the time either survey was taken. Follow the four-year study period, 324 (7.4 percent) of the participants were housebound.
In regards their oral health, researchers found that participants with fewer teeth were twice as likely to stay confined at home when compared to those with more teeth. Nearly 10 percent of the homebound participants had less than 20 teeth and did not use dentures, about 9 percent had less than 20 remaining teeth and did use dentures, and roughly 4 percent had over 20 remaining teeth.
However, researchers did not find a significant association between homebound behavior and oral health in patients over the age of 75.
Based on their findings, researchers presented several possible reasons that may help explain the link between being homebound and an individual’s oral health. One reason: the current state of an individual’s oral health, including the loss of teeth, impacts food choice and nutritional intake, facial attractiveness and social activities. Therefore, poor oral health could negatively impact social activities, leading to individuals to isolate themselves from others. Being homebound in of itself is a barrier to dental care access, stated researchers.
Researchers concluded the study by stating that future intervention studies focused on improving oral health in seniors to prevent the development of homebound tendencies should become the focus of oral health professionals and that more data is needed before a clear cause and effect relationships can be established. Researchers suggest that improving denture use among seniors with fewer teeth could reduce the risk of them becoming homebound in the future.
Your SW Portland Senior Dental Care Provider is Here to Help
It can be easy for our senior loved ones to lose interest or underestimate the importance of their oral health. As family and friends, we need to help reinforce the need for people of all ages to remain interested and invested in protecting their oral health.
By encouraging a loved one to visit the dentist or explore wearing dentures, you can make an enormous difference on their quality of life and happiness during the golden years. As a SW Portland senior dental care provider, the staff at City Dental is here to help when ti comes to providing seniors with the dental care they need. Call today to schedule your next senior dental appointment with the staff at City Dental.