Understanding and Improving the Oral Health of Older Adults

  • Kate Mckenzie

Student thesis: Phd


Population ageing combined with the consequences of increased tooth retention and multimorbidity will present a strain on the current NHS dental care system. Therefore, this work aimed to develop a greater understanding of older adults, their dentition, risk factors for oral disease and review oral health interventions that may be appropriate. To understand the older adult population, data-mapping was utilised by combining shelf population data, secondary data from surveys and data from individuals accessing general dental care services. A mixed methods approach was utilised to identify oral health outcome measures and appropriate interventions; undertaking a broad scoping review, quantitative data collection and focus groups. Formal evaluation of an oral health workshop was carried out in a real-world community setting using oral health literacy as an outcome measure. Population and individual-level data observed inequalities in oral disease rates and treatment provision. Risk factors for oral diseases were identified as largely modifiable and preventable. An educational workshop as an intervention was deemed appropriate and acceptable to provide older adults with information on relevant risk factors and advise them of good self-oral care practices to enable oral health improvements. The oral health workshop showed some improvements in those with initially poor oral health literacy. Improving the oral health of older adults is a complex and challenging area. Such oral health initiatives could be linked to wider health improvements but need further testing in different communities.
Date of Award6 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIain Pretty (Supervisor) & Michaela Goodwin (Supervisor)


  • older adults
  • oral health

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