Introduction: The purpose of this study was to investigate the percentage of older people in an urban area visiting a dentist within the last 12 months and explore the particular effect of age, gender, education and dental status.
Methodology: Athens Dental School organized educational visits to a day center for older people in Athens, where the older visitors were interviewed and clinically examined. The patients’ social and medical history and the time of the last dental visit were recorded. The clinical examination included the presence of natural teeth using appropriate portable equipment.
Results: A total of 77 older people, 53 females and 24 males, with a mean age of 73.8 years were recorded. Dental visits in the last 12 months were statistically significantly related to higher level of education (more than 6 years) (p=0.037) and the presence of natural teeth (p=0.014). More women had visited a dentist in the past 12 months but not to a statistically significant level. Fewer older old (aged 85 years and over) had recently visited a dentist but not statistically significantly.
Conclusion: The findings in the present study are in accordance to previous investigations in community-dwelling older adults indicating the importance of education and natural teeth in the utilization of dental services.
Key words: elderly, gender, edentulism, education, dental service utilization
Authors: Vasilia Petraki, Philippos Thomopoulos, Anastassia E. Kossioni