Introduction. In the last decade, the impact of oral health on overall health status in the elderly has attracted considerable attention. Elderly people are often not aware that oral diseases and tooth loss can be prevented. Oral health behaviour involves acquisition of individual habits for preservation and maintenance of oral health, such as regular brushing and brushing teeth, using fluoride-rich toothpastes and dental floss, reducing sugar in the diet and habit of regular visits to the dentist. The aim of this research was to assess knowledge and attitude toward maintenance and preservation of oral health in people over 60 years in FYROM.
Methods. This is a cross-sectional study of the population, older than 60 years in FYROM, who use dental services and treatment in public health institution, at the Faculty of Dentistry in Skopje (Clinic of Mouth and Periodontal Diseases) and in the Health Centre in Skopje. As an instrument of this research, a questionnaire which included issues related to oral health behaviour was used for the targeted population. 193 patients answered the questions in this questionnaire.
Results. The age of respondents was significantly associated with the frequency of brushing their teeth and interdental spaces, as well as the habits of frequent dental care visits to the dentist. The gender of the patients had a highly significant effect on the use of fluoride toothpastes and the time that had passed since their last visit to the dentist (p<0.01). Education level in elderly patients significantly affected the knowledge of the individual oral health care.
Conclusion. Respondents with higher education brushed their teeth and interdental spaces more frequently and had regular dental check-ups. Furthermore, they almost always used fluoride toothpaste when brushing their teeth. The increased concern for their own health correlated to a higher level of knowledge, awareness and attitudes about oral health care, and follow recommendations by a dentist. In FYROM, oral health behaviour of patients above 60 years is far behind the level of care that is achieved in higher developed countries.
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