Measuring the oral health of nursing home elders

Rita A. Jablonski, Tammy Swecker, Cindy Munro, Mary Jo Grap, Mary Ligon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The primary purposes of this descriptive and prospective pilot study was to test the feasibility of a nursing and dental hygiene team to measure specific oral health indices in a sample of older adults residing in nursing homes (NHs). The secondary purpose was to determine the relationship between plaque and dentate status. Oral health indicators, functional status scores, and behavioral scores were collected and analyzed from 38 female NH residents from two geographically, organizationally, and economically diverse NHs. Persons with dentures had significantly lower plaque scores than those with natural dentition. Rural NH residents and African American NH residents had fewer filled teeth, indicating a potential lack of access to dental care. Oral health indicators were collected safely and efficiently from NH residents using a nursing and dental hygiene collaborative approach. Nursing and dental hygiene collaborations hold promise for improving the oral health in institutionalized elders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-217
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Nursing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Dental hygienists
  • Elderly
  • Nursing homes
  • Oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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