College of dentistry, Al-Jouf University, Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia
The manifestations of oral changes and disorders affecting the geriatric population are different from the rest of the population. Inaccessibility to dental care is a compelling impediment to avail oral health services.
The aims were to assess the dental and oral problems and to find out the determinants of oral health seeking behaviour among elderly population of Al-Jouf province, Saudi Arabia.
The present cross sectional study included geriatric patients of 60 years and above, who visited the College of Dentistry, Al-Jouf University. A simple pre-structured questionnaire was filled by the patients, which comprised of demographic details and the different oral complaints of elderly and the type of health care utilized for those complaints.
Out of total 892 elderly persons included, 51.79% were males and 48.21 were females. The most common oral problem was missing tooth (78.69%) followed by gum problems (74.21%). 39.5% males and 28.0% females visited general dental practitioners for oral health care. Majority of the participants (32.8%) suggested accessibility as a basic factor in determining the health care source. The difference in the distribution of male and females or association between the type of care and gender and distribution for choosing a health care source was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Inaccessibility to dental care emerged as an important barrier to avail oral health services. Adequate access to medical and dental care can reduce premature morbidity and mortality, preserve function, and enhance overall quality of life.
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