Introduction With increasing age, the oral mucosa becomes more susceptible to external stimuli, favouring increased exposure of the individual to aggressive agents. Considering the deleterious habits, the use of alcohol and tobacco represents risk factors for oral lesions. Studies show that the incidence of oral cancer accompanies patterns of tobacco and alcohol consumption.
Objective To investigate the prevalence of oral lesions and relate them to deleterious habits in elderly patients.
Methodology It was a quantitative research conducted at the dental Clinic of UNIFOR, Fortaleza-CE, in the period from 1998 to 2006. The sample consisted of all 756 records of the elderly, and the date were processed by SPSS 15.0.
Results The majority (63.0) were women, age 60–92, mean age 67±6. The most significant proportions were: married (48.4%), retired (42.3%), incomplete primary school (31.5%). It was found a prevalence of 18.3% of oral lesions, with the risk being 1.6 times higher (p=0.030) among younger (up to 65 years) and 1.7 times higher among smokers (p=0.048). Although this risk is 1.6 times higher among those who drank alcohol, it was not statistically significant (p=0.122).
Conclusion The elderly showed a high prevalence of oral lesion, being the youngest, the smokers and the alcohol consumers those most vulnerable to the emergence of these diseases. Dental services need to implement programs of elderly care and health education, essential to clarify the risks and their associations with oral diseases, aiming to promote health.
- Health of the elderly
- oral lesions
- deleterious habits