Oral Health and Quality of Life in Old Age: A Cross-Sectional Pilot Project in Germany and Poland

Adv Clin Exp Med. 2016 Sep-Oct;25(5):951-959. doi: 10.17219/acem/63952.


Background: The process of ageing influences all dimensions of social life and personal well-being, but the influence of health on different dimensions of quality of life (QoL) among the elderly is rarely examined.

Objectives: The aim of the pilot study is to test the feasibility of a comprehensive study design to evaluate general and dental health as well as QoL in a bi-national sample. In addition, this pilot study should allow for the exploration of potential interactions between QoL, socioeconomic, health and oral health variables.

Material and methods: Individuals aged 64 years and older (n = 100) from university dental clinics of the Wroclaw Medical University, Poland (n = 50) and of the University Hospital in Dresden, Germany (n = 50) were examined. The oral health status of participants was assessed by clinical examination. Socio-demographic, environmental and general health status were evaluated during the medical interview. General quality of life (GQoL) was assessed by an overall question with a visual analogue scale (VAS) from -5 (worst) to +5 (best). Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) were measured with the EQ-5D and OHIP-14 questionnaires. Statistical analyses comprised Pearson's c2 test, Wilcoxon test, linear regression model for statistical analysis and different multivariate linear regression analyses.

Results: For the GQoL-VAS-Score the results for QoL measurements were 1.22 ± 2.62 (x± SD), for EQ-5D-Score 7.45 ± 2.25 (x± SD), and for OHIP-14-ADD-Score 11.04 ± 13.56 (x± SD). Differences between Polish and German populations were observed.

Conclusions: The study design proved to be feasible for a senior population. The overall GQoL question, EQ-5D and OHIP-14 were regarded as appropriate instruments. Subjective and objective (oral) health measures showed differences between Germany and Poland. For methodological reasons, these differences are not generalizable, but of value for study hypotheses in larger samples.

Keywords: dental care for the aged; epidemiologic research design; feasibility studies; geriatric dentistry; quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poland
  • Quality of Life*