ABSTRACT In the past three decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of old elderly (85+ years old) in Finland, and more of these individuals are retaining their natural teeth. Numerous cross‐sectional studies have reported on the periodontal health of the elderly (aged 75+), but very few long‐term follow‐ups have been reported. This study forms a part of the population‐based Helsinki Aging Study (HAS) and compares the periodontal health status and the treatment needs at baseline with those of the same population five years later. The baseline study, in 1990–91, examined the dentate elderly born in 1904, 1909, and 1914, living in Helsinki, Finland (n = 196). The follow‐up study was completed in 1995–96 (n = 73). Periodontal status was recorded by means of the Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs (CPITN) in 175 dentate subjects (55 males and 120 females) who met the criteria at baseline, and in 57 dentate elderly (17 males and 40 females), aged 81, 86, and 91 years, who remained at follow‐up. Among the 57 dentate elderly who participated in both baseline and follow‐up examinations, the mean number of teeth decreased from 15.9 to 15.1, and the mean number of remaining sextants from 4.2 to 3.7. There were minor changes in the periodontal health status during this five‐year period, with an increase in code 2 (from 43% to 58%) and a decrease in code 3 (from 38% to 25%). Nevertheless, the overall treatment needs remained unchanged. It can be concluded that the periodontal health of the elderly had remained stable for 5 years, and almost no change was observed in their treatment needs. Therefore, periodontal disease in the elderly who are relatively healthy is not caused by the aging process.
Special Care in Dentistry – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 2001
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