Background. Oral hygiene is a critical part of an individual’s health. Older individuals are more prone to oral pathology, particularly females. This study assessed the prevalence of oral health problems of older people admitted to hospital and their dental hygiene practices.
Methods. The study was done on patients aged 65 years or older admitted to medical wards in a tertiary hospital. A questionnaire regarding dental hygiene habits as well as the Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) were administered.
Results. For the 100 patients interviewed and assessed, most participants brushed their teeth at least once daily with toothpaste. Almost three quarters did not visit a dentist regularly, while 43% were not aware of the importance of visiting a dentist routinely. The main problems identified in the oral cavity were tongue and natural teeth.
Conclusions. The prevalence of oral health problems in older medical inpatients was low. However, the dental hygiene habits and perceptions of importance of dental hygiene should be improved to maintain the low prevalence of dental problems in older people.