Prevalence of oral mucosal lesions in elderly people in Santiago, Chile

J Oral Pathol Med. 2003 Nov;32(10):571-5. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0714.2003.00031.x.


Background: Oral prevalence studies are important to know the state of health and the needs of treatment. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of oral mucosal lesions and associated factors among aging Chileans.

Methods: A random sample by age, gender, and socioeconomic status was obtained, comprising 889 individuals older than 65 years. Individuals were interviewed and examined in Santiago, the capital of Chile, according to the World Health Organization guidelines.

Results: The prevalence of one or more oral mucosal lesions in the sample was 53%. Logistic regression model revealed that denture use increased the probability of one or more oral mucosal lesions by threefold, while age, gender, smoking, medication use, xerostomia, and social or cultural factors had no effect. The most common lesion was denture stomatitis (22.3%), followed by irritative hyperplasia (9.4%), oral mucosal varicosities (9%), solitary pigmented lesions (4%), traumatic ulcer (3.5%), angular cheilitis (2.9%), multiple pigmented lesions (2.8%), hemangioma (2.3%), lichen planus (2.1%), leukoplakia (1.7%), recurrent aphthous stomatitis (1.4%), nicotine stomatitis (1.3%), median rhomboid glossitis (0.9%), actinic cheilitis (0.9%), pyogenic granuloma (0.7%), oral squamous papiloma (0.6%), and mucocele (0.2%). One case of oral cancer was observed. Different factors increased the probability of specific oral mucosal pathologies.

Conclusions: We can conclude that oral mucosal lesions are common in elderly people in Santiago, suggesting the necessity for improved standards of prevention, and diagnostic and opportune treatment of these lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cheilitis / epidemiology
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mouth Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Oral Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Pigmentation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Social Class
  • Stomatitis, Denture / epidemiology
  • Varicose Veins / epidemiology
  • Xerostomia / epidemiology