Oral status of adults of age 50 years and above in some localities in Yaounde

TIAYAH Munge (itiayah@yahoo.co.uk)
Oral surgery, maxillo- facial surgery and periodontology, Yaounde I
July, 2015


Introduction: The increased life expectancy observed in recent days is accompanied by an increased number of elderly in our community. These individuals are in need of specific oral care services. Elderly adults in the community could be found in institutions for the old, be in- patients in hospitals or be community dwellers. The socio- economic status and access to oral health care services of these three groups differs and may favor increased prevalence of certain conditions in a given group. It is for this reason that we decided to investigate the oral status of elderly adults found in either of the sites mentioned above. For convenience, the community dwellers were represented by hospital out- patients.
Methodology: In an attempt to understand the pattern of oral conditions displayed in the elderly, we carried out a cross- sectional descriptive study, over a 7 month period, from the months of November 2014 to May 2015. During which we did a nonrandom selection of elderly adults, age 50 years and above, to have a convenient sample size of 120. Where 21 were institutionalized in rest homes; Centre Humanitaire Béthanie- Viacam in Nkolmesseng and Centre Sainte Louise Maurilac Filles de la Charité in Nsimalen, 80 in- patients and 19 out- patients, all of the Yaounde Central and General Hospitals. Excluded were those unwilling to participate and those too tired or too ill to participate. For each subject, we interrogated for individual’s personal information, then examined the oral cavity and recorded information on a data collection form. The information so obtained remained anonymous and made accessible only to the investigator and the research team.
Results: In all, 17.5% (n=21) of our participants were institutionalized, 66.67% (n=80) were in- patients, while 15.83% (n=19) were out patients. Eleven subjects could not be precise about their age, among whom three were said to be above 100 years old. The age range of the 109 others was from 50 to 91, mean age 63.91 +/-11.41(sd) years and median 62 years. 51.67% (n=62) of the population were females. We got of a DMF- index of 17.4, an above average fully dentate subjects; 53.33% (n=64), associated with a 5% (n=6) prevalence of total edentulism. There was a 70% (n=84) prevalence of periodontal disease indicators. Tooth looss (53%), gingiva recession (50%), dental caries (41.66%), tooth mobility (36.67%) and temporo- mandibular joint symptoms (29.17%) were also present. There were no cases of oral cancers, thrush or other pathologies/ symptoms.
Conclusion: the oral status of elderly adults aged 50 years and above in some localities in Yaounde is dominated primarily by periodontal disease. Other common conditions (in order of frequency) are; tooth loss, tooth wear, gingiva recession, dental caries, tooth mobility and temporo- mandibular joint symptoms. We recommend that administrators and care- providers at rest homes encourage inhabitants to pay regular visits to oral health care centers and also sensitizes them on the importance of oral hygiene. Also, we call on the ministry of public health to encourage studies in gerodontology by providing financial aid to students willing to carry out such research.