The objective of this study was to determine whether drugs with sedative properties are related to oral health behaviour—such as frequency of toothbrushing, using toothpaste and dental visits—and oral hygiene, measured by the number of teeth with dental plaque, among community-dwelling older people.


The study population consisted of 159 community-dwelling, dentate, non-smoking, older people from the Oral Health GeMS study (Geriatric Multidisciplinary Strategy for the Good Care of Older People study). The data were collected by interviews and clinical examinations during 2004-2005. Sedative properties of drugs were assessed using the sedative load (SL) model. Logistic and Poisson regression models were used to estimate odds ratios/relative risks (OR/RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).


After adjusting for confounding factors, SL associated with infrequent toothbrushing (OR 1.72, CI: 0.61-4.89), toothpaste use less than twice a day (OR 3.34, CI: 1.39-8.12), non-regular dental visits (OR 2.28 CI: 0.91-5.30) and the number of teeth with dental plaque (RR 1.20 CI: 1.04-1.39) compared to participants without a SL.


The results of this study suggest that use of drugs with sedative properties indicates poor oral health behaviour among older people.

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