The influence of oral health factors on the quality of life in older people: A systematic review

L.J.M. van de Rijt, C.C. Stoop, R.A.F. Weijenberg, R. de Vries, A.R. Feast, E.L. Sampson, F. Lobbezoo

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The number of people aged 65 years or older is growing substantially. As a result of increased health burden and tooth retention, more oral health problems are expected in this age group. A poor oral health-related quality of life (OHQoL) can compromise a person's psychological state, social relationships, personal beliefs, and physical health. The aim of this systematic review was to identify oral health factors associated with OHQoL in people aged 65 years or older and to give a comprehensive overview of the body of literature for each oral health factor separately. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A comprehensive search was performed in five databases. The following terms were used as index terms or free-text words: "Oral Health," "Quality of Life," "Older People." Two researchers independently assessed studies for eligibility based on predefined criteria. RESULTS: Of 3,702 references retrieved from the databases, 68 studies were eligible and included (9 randomized clinical trials, 6 cohort studies, and 53 cross-sectional studies). All results were reported descriptively. OHQoL in people aged 65 years or older is positively associated with higher number of teeth, higher number of occluding pairs, implant-retained overdentures, and the shortened dental arch concept and negatively associated with xerostomia, orofacial pain, and poor chewing ability. In the current literature, there is no consensus on the association between edentulism, caries, and periodontal conditions and OHQoL. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Having a functional dentition (either natural or prosthetic) is important for a good OHQoL, whereas painful or functional complaints are associated with impaired OHQoL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e378-e394
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


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