A1 Journal article – refereed
Oral mucosal lesions and oral hygiene habits in the home-living elderly

List of Authors: Nevalainen MJ, Närhi TO, Ainamo A
Publication year: 1997
Journal: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 5


A large epidemiological health investigation, the Helsinki Ageing Study
(HAS), was performed in 1989-1991 in Helsinki, Finland. We report here
the prevalence of oral mucosal lesions in 338 76-, 81- and 86-year-old
home-living elderly people, who completed the oral health investigation
at the Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki. One or more
lesions were found in 128 subjects (38%). Fifty-one per cent of the
edentulous complete-denture wearers and 31% of the elderly with some
natural teeth had mucosal lesions. The most common finding was
inflammation under the denture, which occurred alone or combined with
other lesions in 25% of the denture wearers. The three most common
mucosal changes not related to denture wearing were coated changes of
the tongue (7%), angular cheilitis (6%) and varicose veins under the
tongue (4%). No differences were found in the number of mucosal lesions
among the three age groups. Angular cheilitis and inflammation under
removable dentures were more frequent in women than in men. However, no
other differences were found in the presence of mucosal lesions between
sexes. The total number of mucosal lesions correlated positively with
the number of medications used daily. Ninety-six per cent of the
subjects with complete dentures, and 98% of those with some natural
teeth reported cleaning their dentures at least once a day. Of the
denture wearers, 88% reported cleaning their oral mucosa also, as part
of their oral hygiene routine. The presence of mucosal lesions was
related to self-reported cleaning of the denture-bearing mucosa.
However, no association was observed between cleaning frequency and
presence of mucosal changes

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