Oral health practices and beliefs among caregivers of the dependent elderly

Gerodontology. 2012 Jun;29(2):e742-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2011.00553.x. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


Background: Caregivers deal with oral health care of the dependent elderly; however, this has a low priority among them, and their education in daily oral care is deficient. Therefore, studying the oral care practices as well as their oral health beliefs is important as these affect the quality of the oral care they perform.

Objective: To compare formal and informal caregivers' oral care practices and oral health beliefs when taking care of severely dependent elderly.

Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a convenience sample of 21 formal caregivers from a long-term residence and 18 informal caregivers from a local primary health care domiciliary programme. Caregivers were surveyed using a questionnaire designed to elicit oral care practices and oral health beliefs. The nursing Dental Coping Beliefs Scale questionnaire was translated and validated in Chile.

Results: Significant differences were observed between formal and informal caregivers' performance of some oral health care practices. There were no significant differences between formal and informal caregivers' oral health beliefs.

Conclusions: Although there are some differences in formal and informal caregivers' oral health care practices, we cannot state that one caregiver's performance is better than the other, in fact, negative oral health beliefs were found in both groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Chile
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Devices, Home Care
  • Denture Cleansers / therapeutic use
  • Dentures
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Toothbrushing
  • Toothpastes / therapeutic use


  • Denture Cleansers
  • Mouthwashes
  • Toothpastes