This study investigated the relationship between oral hygiene conditions, activities of daily living (ADL) and cognitive ability in older Korean patients in long-term care facilities.
Ninety older persons (65+) were randomly sampled from a possible 112 residents in a single facility. They participated in a 2-month-long survey. The Korean Modified Barthel Index was used to measure the ADL, and cognitive ability was measured using the Mini-Mental State Examination, Korean version. Oral hygiene status was measured using the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index and the Tongue Coating Index (TCI).
Older participants with complete dependence manifested significantly poorer oral hygiene (P < 0.05). Scores on the TCI were significantly higher in participants who were dentulous with partial dependence (P < 0.05). A multiple regression analysis showed that dependence and being dentulous significantly predicted poorer oral hygiene (P < 0.05).
This study suggests that older participants with complete dependence had poor oral hygiene on tooth surfaces, while participants with partial dependence had poor tongue hygiene. In addition, dentulous older participants had poorer tongue hygiene than edentulous ones. This indicates the need to assess tooth status and provide oral care services via ADL in long-term care facilities.