2. Department of Paediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Athens, Greece.
3. School of Law, Economic and Political Sciences, University of Athens, Greece.
Objective: The present study aimed to investigate the impact of the oral health status on the quality of life of groups of elderly adults in urban and rural regions of Greece with different educational backgrounds.
Background: Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) is significantly affected by an individual’s oral health status.
Methods: A total of 501 elderly Greeks, 65–74 years (mean 71±5), were randomly selected from urban and rural areas. In a face to face survey, they completed a self-administrated questionnaire, containing the OHIP-14 instrument validated for Greeks. Difference in the OHIP among urban vs rural and metropolitan vs non metropolitan populations as well as among five educational classes are assessed. Furthermore comparisons are drawn between subjective general and oral health.
Results: Excellent internal consistency was demonstrated, i.e., Cronbach alpha of 0.89. Impact of oral health on quality of life was found with a weighted OHIP-14 score of 2.1 (s.d. 2.7). Functional limitation, physical pain and psychological discomfort were the highest scoring, even surpassing a mean of 3. The overall level of Oral Health Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) was better in urban (OHIP-ADD 15.6+/- 11.0) than in rural (OHIP-ADD 16.3+/-10.0) areas and in metropolitan (OHIP-ADD 14.7+/-11.0) than in non-metropolitan (OHIP-ADD 16.4+/-10.0) areas. Significant educational differences in the OHRQoL were identified between those with lower educational class (OHIP-ADD 16.0+/-10.3) in comparison with those with higher (OHIP-ADD 13.0+/-11.3) educational level. Finally drawing comparisons between general and oral health it was found that 65% of the rural population reports good general health and around the half 35% reported good oral health. This difference is attributed to the lack of oral health planning in the rural areas of Greece.
Conclusions: Dental and oral health conditions have a measurable impact on the quality of life of senior citizens. The ability of an individual to function can be affected, which in turn can have more far-reaching economic impacts on society as a whole.
Keywords: Oral health related quality of life (OHRQoL), OHIP-14, senior citizens, perceived health