The correlative study on dental status and nutritional health among the elderly in Hong Kong

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The correlative study on dental status and nutritional health among the elderly in Hong Kong


Author: Chow, Pik-kei
Title: The correlative study on dental status and nutritional health among the elderly in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Older people -- Dental care -- China -- Hong Kong
Older people -- Nutrition -- Evaluation
Nutrition and dental health -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: School of Nursing
Pages: viii, 102 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Introduction: The proportion of elderly people in the general population continues to grow worldwide. An increasing number of people are preserving their natural teeth well into old age. This is likely to increase the risk of dental problems among the elderly, which makes their dental health an important concern. However, this issue had been neglected by both the elderly and their healthcare providers, and there is no suitable dental health assessment tool for the elderly for use in a primary care setting. Objectives: The objectives of this study were 1) to develop a dental health assessment tool for the elderly that can be used by non-dental professionals in a primary care setting, 2) to establish the psychometric properties (i.e., reliability, validity and usability) of this new tool and 3) to describe dental and nutritional status and assess the relationship between them. Results: Stage 1: There were 2 stages in the study. In the first stage, it was an instrument development with psychosomatic testing. In the second stage, a cross-sectional survey was conducted. An extensive literature review was conducted to determine the elements to be included in the dental health assessment tool. The content validity of the newly developed instrument was evaluated by a panel of experts. The initial content validity index (CVI) was 0.92, and that after modification was 1. Interrater reliability was tested, and the intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.87 (p <0.01), demonstrating good interrater reliability. All nurses agreed that the newly developed dental health assessment tool is useful. Results: Stage 2: Dental and nutritional status were examined using a cross-sectional survey. A total of 708 elderly were recruited using convenience sampling from the PolyU (Polytechnic University) Henry G. Leong Mobile Integrative Health Centre (MIHC), which serves five districts in Hong Kong. Dental and nutritional assessments of all subjects were performed. Dental status was evaluated using the newly developed dental health assessment tool, and nutritional status was evaluated using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA). Sociodemographic data were retrieved from the telehealth system of the MIHC. In the sample, the mean number of natural teeth was 16.14 (standard deviation [SD] 10.13). Among the 708 subjects, 5.5% (n = 39) had inadequate dentition, 12.4% had inadequate dentition due to ill-fitting dentures and 82% had adequate dentition. The mean decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) score was 20.25 (SD 9.5), and was correlated with age, government financial assistance and mobility. Among the subjects, 2.4% were suffering from malnutrition, 20.3% were at risk of malnutrition and 77.3% were not at risk of malnutrition. Nutritional status was correlated with age, marital status and government financial assistance. Conclusion: This study provides evidence of a positive correlation between dentition and nutritional status (rs = 0.098, p = 0.009). The findings indicate that dentition status is a predictor of nutritional status. Hence, dental health assessment should be part of general health assessment, and regular dental check-ups should be provided for the elderly.

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