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Oral Health in Edmonton Community Dwelling Older Adults Open Access


Other title
Community dwelling
Facilitators to oral health services
Barriers to oral health services
Utilization of oral health services
Older adult
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Khabra, Kimi K
Supervisor and department
Compton, Sharon M (Dentistry)
Keenan, Louanne (Family Medicine)
Examining committee member and department
Storey, Kate (Public Health)
Compton, Sharon M (Dentistry)
Keenan, Louanne (Family Medicine)
Medical Sciences-Dental Hygiene

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Poor oral health in older adults is identified as a major health issue. There are cumulative effects of oral diseases over time that may impact other health issues for older adults. Regular utilization of dental care is key to maintaining good oral health in later life; however, older adults identified oral health care as the most common health care service they need, which has significant barriers. The purpose of this study was to explore oral health experiences from the perspective of older adults’ living in community dwellings: to identify facilitators and barriers to oral health care, and to determine how oral health services utilization compares to utilization of other healthcare services. An interpretive descriptive methodology was employed with a purposive sample of 12 adults, aged 70 years or older. The inclusion criterion was English-speaking seniors residing in community dwellings. Community dwellings were defined as any housing outside of long-term care or other supportive living facilities. Semi-structured interviews were 30-80 minutes, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Three researchers participated in the comparative analysis process to develop codes, generate categories, interpret patterns, and construct themes. Three central themes surfacing from the data were: 1) life course influences on oral health; 2) transparency in delivery of oral health services; and 3) interrelationships between oral health and overall health. Study findings were interpreted within the context of current literature and a theory of aging. Perspectives of older adults in this study helped inform suggestions for improving dental and dental hygiene clinical interventions in the following areas: recognizing the value of establishing collaborative and trusting relationships between oral health practitioners and older adults; including oral health services as part of interdisciplinary care; and funding more research to expand research related to life course influences on oral health for older adults.
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