Teeth conditions in older adults in nursing homes

Maintain healthy teeth to prevent tooth loss and jawbone destruction

Healthy teeth means teeth that are strong, clean, and free of decay and infection. Conditions such as back teeth that are not able to come in contact with one another while biting down (posterior occlusal contacts), loose (mobile) teeth, or teeth covered with food bits, plaque and substantial tartar build up (substantial oral debris) can lead to tooth loss and jawbone destruction.

Regular dental cleanings are necessary to remove hardened on tartar build up (calculus) from teeth. Individuals can maintain healthy teeth between dental cleanings with proper oral hygiene that includes flossing and brushing with fluoridated toothpaste to remove soft debris (food and dental plaque). Also, see your dentist for conditions such as loose or broken teeth or clicking, grinding or pain in the jaw joint for treatment and to prevent further damage.

 

Back teeth contacts among older adults age 65 and older living in Minnesota nursing homes, 2016

 

Source: Minnesota Department of Health, Oral Health Program. Older Adult Basic Screening Survey.

 

Data is based on an open mouth screening – the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) standardized survey. Analyzable sample size = 944 of 1,032 residents screened within a stratified random sample of 31 Minnesota Medicare or Medicaid eligible skilled nursing facilities with at least 30 beds. Teeth contact was unknown for 42 residents. See About the Data: Basic Screening Survey for Older Adults for more information.

In 2016, over half of older adults had premolar or molar (back teeth) contact on both sides of the mouth, also called functional posterior occlusal contacts. However, 14 percent of older adults had contact on only one side of the mouth and 25 percent of older adults did not have back teeth contact at all on either the right or the left side of the mouth.

There were no significant differences in the proportion of older adults with no contact, one contact or both side teeth contact by sex or age group. Race and ethnicity could not be analyzed due to the low proportion of non-White or Hispanic residents in the sample.


Almost 2 in 30 adults living in Minnesota nursing homes have at least one loose tooth

 

 

In 2016, 6 percent of older adults age 65 and older in Minnesota nursing homes – about 3,097 individuals – had at least one loose tooth (tooth mobility). There were no significant differences in the proportion of older adults with loose teeth by sex or age group. Race and ethnicity could not be analyzed due to the low proportion of non-White or Hispanic residents in the sample.

In 2016, 2 out of every 30 (6.4%, 95% CI = 3.6 to 9.1; n = 664 of 944) Minnesota older adults aged 65 years and older in nursing homes had at least one loose tooth.


Almost 1 in 5 adults living in Minnesota nursing homes have tartar build up, food and dental plaque

 

 

In 2016, 17 percent of older adults age 65 and older in Minnesota nursing homes – about 8,420 individuals – had substantial oral debris. There were no significant differences in the proportion of older adults with substantial oral debris by sex or age group. Race and ethnicity could not be analyzed due to the low proportion of non-White or Hispanic residents in the sample.

In 2016, almost 1 out of every 5 (17.4%, 95% CI = 12.6 to 22.3; n = 674 of 944) Minnesota older adults aged 65 and older in nursing homes had substantial oral debris.

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