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ORIGINAL RESEARCH Table of Contents   
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-21
Oral healthcare for elderly : Identifying the needs and feasible strategies for service provision

1 Department of Community Dentistry, Maulana Azad Dental College & Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Periodontics, Maulana Azad Dental College & Hospital, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Prosthodontics, Maulana Azad Dental College & Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Pankaj Goel
Department of Community Dentistry, Maulana Azad Dental College & Hospital, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.29897

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The aim of the present study was to assess the oral health practices, status and treatment needs of the rural elderly in national capital territory of Delhi. An effort was also made to identify patterns of utilization of dental services and test alternate strategies for service provision. A total of 96 elderly subjects (47 males and 49 females) in 5 rural areas were interviewed and clinically examined using Basic Oral Health Survey criteria of W.H.O. This was followed by a community trial in which the 5 villages were divided into control and test groups. Results of the survey found that both traditional as well as modern oral health practices co-exist in the rural community. Dental services were available to a majority (mostly through private sector), and edentulousness was a condition of primary concern among the elderly as a result of unmet treatment needs for dental caries and periodontal diseases. Age was a variable that was statistically significantly associated with edentulousness (p=0.005). Results of the community trial showed that higher utilization of care can be achieved by providing on-site dental care as compared to referring cases to tertiary care centers. Nevertheless provision of treatment alone is not a suitable policy recommendation since many elderly did not avail care even at on-site community dental health programmes that were operated free of cost. This emphasizes the need of health education over treatment in order to empower the elderly, especially the non-ambulatory patients, to practice prevention and develop favourable attitudes towards accepting prompt treatment at primary health care level.

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