Exploring associations between multidimensional frailty and oral health in community-dwelling older people

A pilot study

Erik M. van der Heijden, Wim J. Klüter, Claar D. van der Maarel-Wierink en Robbert Gobbens
Soort object
Abstract Objective: To determine the associations between four validated multidimensional self-report frailty scales and nine indices of oral health in communitydwelling older persons. Materials and Methods: This pilot study was conducted in a sample of 208 older persons aged 70 years and older who visited two dental practices in the Netherlands. Frailty status was measured by four different self-report frailty questionnaires: Tilburg Frailty Indicator (TFI), Groningen Frailty Indicator (GFI), Sunfrail Checklist (SC), and the Sherbrooke Postal Questionnaire (SPQ). Oral health was assessed by two calibrated examiners. Results: The prevalence of frailty according to the four frailty measures TFI, GFI, SC, and SPQ was 32.8%, 31.5%, 24.5%, and 49.7%, respectively. The SC correlated with four oral health variables (DMFT, number of teeth, percentage of occlusal contacts, Plaque Index), the TFI with three (number of teeth, percentage of occlusal contacts, Plaque Index), the GFI only with DPSI, and the SPQ with the number of teeth and the number of occlusal contacts. Conclusion: Of the studiedmultidimensional frailty scales, the SC and TFIwere correlated with most oral health variables (four and three, respectively). However, it should be noticed that these correlations were small. Clinical relevance: The SCand TFImight help to identify older people with risk of poor oral health so that preventive care can be used to ensure deterioration of oral health and maintenance of quality of life. Vice versa early detection of frailty by oral care professionals could contribute to interprofessional management of frailty.