Merelie, Denise Lynn and Heyman, Bob (1992) Dental needs of the elderly in residential care in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the role of formal carers. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 20 (2). pp. 106-111. ISSN 0301-5661

Interviews were carried out on 61 formal carers from 41 residential homes and 379 elderly residents from 35 homes. Formal carers were questioned about their own dental health and arrangements made to maintain the dental health of the residents. Only 46% of carers attended a dentist regularly although the majority knew that teeth and dentures should be examined regularly. Carers arranged most of the dental treatment received by residents. The percentage of residents from each home receiving treatment ranged from 0% to 52%. Residents judged by formal carers to be capable of participation were interviewed and a 40% stratified random sub-sample was examined. 96% of residents stated that they would only attend a dentist if they were experiencing problems. However, among residents reporting problems (25% of the sample), only a third wished to see a dentist. This proportion rose to half when treatment was offered. The reported barriers to seeking dental treatment included the resident's belief that he or she was coping satisfactorily, transport difficulties and ill health. Denture and oral hygiene were poor and dentures cleaned by staff were no cleaner than those cleaned by residents. A random sample of residents judged by formal carers to be confused were also examined. The condition of their teeth and dentures was similar to that of non-confused residents.

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