Items used to assess oral health in care-dependent persons and changes in oral condition after care intervention

Yasushi Nakamura, DDS,(a) Rika Kanaoka, DDS, PhD,(b) Yoshihisa Yamabe, DDS, PhD,(b) and Hiroyuki Fujii, DDS, PhD(b)

(a)Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, and (b)Division of Removable Prosthodontics and Management of Oral Function, Department of Development and Reconstructive Medicine, Course of Medical and Dental Sciences, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to provide a reference for the selection of assessment items useful in examining changes in intra-oral condition and oral function before and after care intervention.
Materials and Methods: The subjects were 90 care-dependent individuals living in 17 facilities for the elderly. Each individual was examined by a dentist and assessed on a total of 32 items, and a care plan was prepared on the basis of this information. Professional care was provided twice a month for a continuous period of four months. The findings after care intervention were categorized as improved, unchanged, worsened or obscure.
Results: A significant improvement was observed in 12 items related to intra-oral condition (nine items related to oral hygiene status and three items related to denture handling and occlusion) and nine items related to oral function (p<0.05 in all cases).
Conclusion: These results suggest that oral care intervention would exert an effect on intra-oral condition and oral function in care-dependent persons and underlines the appropriateness and usefulness of care in this subject group. Results obtained in this study offer an incentive for care-dependent persons and caregivers and thus can serve as a useful index on the frontlines of care. (Int Chin J Dent 2005; 5: 53-60.)

Key Words: assessment item, care-dependent person, intra-oral condition, oral function, oral health care.