Caries and periodontal disease of the elderly in Pomerania, Germany: results of the Study of Health in Pomerania
MetadataShow full item record
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the oral health status of older adults living in northeastern Germany. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Representative samples of adults aged 60 years or older were examined as part of Study of the Health in Pomerania, a cross-sectional, population-based study. Data on 1446 subjects aged 60-79 years were evaluated for coronal caries using the decayed/missing/filled teeth (DMFT) index, root caries using the root caries index (RCI), calculus, plaque, bleeding on probing, pocket depth and attachment loss. RESULTS: The prevalence of edentulousness varied from 16% in the 60-65-year-old group to 30% in the 75-79-year-old group, whereas the median number of remaining natural teeth per subject varied from 14 in the youngest age group (60-65 years) to one in the oldest (75-79 years). Among subjects aged 60-69 years, a quarter (26%) of the teeth examined had coronal restoration against 17% in the oldest age group (70-79 years). Coronal caries was found in 2% of the teeth in both age groups. Among teeth with gingival recession, 6% had fillings on root surfaces and 2% had root caries, irrespective of age. In all, 11% of the subjects had at least one untreated coronal lesion and 27% had at least one untreated root caries lesion. Plaque score, calculus score and bleeding on probing were higher in the oldest age group (70-79 years). The prevalence of periodontal disease expressed as the presence of at least one periodontal pocket of 4 mm and more, was higher in men and among the younger subjects (men aged 60-69 years: 85% vs. 71% in 70-79-year-old men; women aged 60-69 years: 71% vs. 62% in 70-79-year-olds). The prevalence of attachment loss of 3 mm or more followed a similar pattern. CONCLUSIONS: It seems therefore that in this population, the major oral health concern is related to caries and the small number of teeth retained among the dentate subjects.