The oral health of ageing baby boomers: a comparison of adults aged 45–64 and those 65 years and older

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Abstract

Objectives:

To compare the oral health status of adults aged 45–64 (baby boomers) and those aged 65 and older.

Methods:

An observational, cross-sectional survey of adults living independently in rural and urban settings in Nova Scotia, Canada was conducted. Using random digit dialing, calibrated interviewers completed a telephone survey, and clinicians calibrated to WHO standards conducted clinical examinations. Weighting was used to correct for sampling bias.

Results:

747 community dwelling adults completed both the clinical exam and the questionnaire (n = 411, age 45–64; n = 336, age 65 or older). Rates of edentulism were low (2.6% aged 45–64; 15.7% aged 65+; p < 0.001). Untreated root caries was greater in the older dentate group (19.7 vs. 10.1%; p < 0.001). Being 65 years of age or older was identified as a predictor of increased decayed, missing, filled teeth, presence of decayed and/or filled roots and presence of attachment loss ≥4 mm, but was not a significant predictor of presence of untreated coronal caries.

Conclusions:

A falling rate of edentulism and a higher risk for root caries with increasing age may predict the need for more complex dental care as our population ages.

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