Burden of oral disease among older adults and implications for public health priorities

Am J Public Health. 2012 Mar;102(3):411-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300362. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


Dental disease is largely preventable. Many older adults, however, experience poor oral health. National data for older adults show racial/ethnic and income disparities in untreated dental disease and oral health-related quality of life. Persons reporting poor versus good health also report lower oral health-related quality of life. On the basis of these findings, suggested public health priorities include better integrating oral health into medical care, implementing community programs to promote healthy behaviors and improve access to preventive services, developing a comprehensive strategy to address the oral health needs of the homebound and long-term-care residents, and assessing the feasibility of ensuring a safety net that covers preventive and basic restorative services to eliminate pain and infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Oral Health / ethnology
  • Periodontal Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Periodontal Diseases* / psychology
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Class
  • Tooth Loss
  • United States / epidemiology