Are oral health education for carers effective in the oral hygiene management of elderly with dementia? A systematic review

Nithin Manchery, Gireesh Kumar Subbiah, Nagappan Nagappan, Parvathy Premnath


Elderly with dementia or cognitive impairment are at increased risk of poor oral health. Oral health
education programs targeting carers may be an effective strategy to improve oral hygiene. The
aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of oral health education programs for carers on
the oral hygiene of elderly with dementia. A literature search was performed to identify studies
published in five electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO),
without time and language restrictions. Two independent coders extracted data and assessed the
risk of bias for each included study. Of the 243 studies, only four studies met the inclusion criteria.
All four studies reported a significant improvement for some oral health measures in dementia
elderly following a carer oral health education program. The included studies did not report any
other relevant outcomes of interest for this review. This review identifies limited evidence for a
carer oral health education as an efficient means to improve oral health in dementia elderly. The
review also clearly highlights the need for well‑designed, high‑quality studies with more relevant
outcome measures to better address this knowledge gap.


Carer, dementia, education, elderly, geriatric, oral hygiene, review

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